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Khyber Pass Afghan

lil mikey | | Jun 13, 2007 04:45 AM

It’s not a particularly user-friendly place.

For example, they don’t tell you it’s a BYO place until you order the wine. By that time, it’s too late to dash out and buy a bottle. And they don’t tell you they don’t take Mastercard until you’re paying the bill. Fortunately I had enough cash.

But the food’s good.

The back terasse is moderate. The tables are covered with plastic tablecloths, the silverware is expected to be re-used for each course, the chairs are plastic… you get the picture.

But the food is good.

There are two table d’hôtes to choose from. One is a prix fix; the other one allows more choice. I chose choice.

They start you off with some flatbread along with three dipping sauces: a mint yogurt sauce, a cilantro vinegar sauce and a sweet red pepper sauce. These were fine. Nothing special, but it was satisfying while waiting for the food…If only I had BYO’ed.

The salad is chopped tomato, cucumber and onion, with a generous portion of cilantro and a little oil over the top. It’s kind of like a gazpacho before you blend it up. It’s pretty good, actually, and refreshing.

The next dish was unbelievable. It was the mantoo, which is steamed, obviously homemade dumplings. The skins were the most tender I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve had a LOT of steamed dumplings). The filling was beef with cilantro, and on top was an interesting mixture of spices and yogurt sauce. I am going back just for this dish.

The main course was described as “sauce with chunks of lamb.” In fact, it was several large pieces of lamb osso buco that were extremely tender. Like fall off the bone tender. The sauce was a red pepper/tomato/spice sauce that complimented the lamb quite well. It’s served with three different kinds of rice: a nice yellow curry rice, a green cilantro rice and white long grain rice. These rices were wonderfully fresh. Alongside is a helping of the same salad I got at the beginning of the meal. Next time I’ll order the soup to start off with instead of the salad. This dish was quite tasty and satisfying. I couldn’t finish it. With the appetizers, this was a lot of food.

For dessert, they bring a bowl of white rice custard, with a delightful green spice mixture on top. This had a very different taste, and I liked it.

According to their menu, the Khyber Pass is roughly the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. So I guess this is what Osama and the Taliban eat.

Oh, and the service is outstanding. The above was $25 before tip.

Khyber Pass
506 rue Duluth Est (3 blocks east of St. Denis)
(514) 844-7131

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