Checked this out for lunch last Thursday - their buffet day. Some wins some losses.
This pleasant restaurant (85 Washington Street) is related to Pamir on the UES in Manhattan. It has real potential - the question is how to get them to deliver on it. The buffet is probably not the way.
The wins - they served a mass of grilled veg and pieces of grilled meat - well, these were a variety of kebab pieces, all excellent, juicy and well spiced. The resht (veg soup with noodles and some dal in it) was delicious and spicy. The rice had no whole spices in it - disappointing. There was an eggplant dish with yogurt and herbs on top that was quite nice, and the fried dumplings with dal and (supposedly) meat in them were well fried but bland. Excellent bread. A very simple potato dish with plain tomato sauce and a bland squash in yogurt, both totally without spices or herbs, and what seemed like a chicken stir fry (inoffensive, bland) rounded out the selection.
What cast a pall on the whole meal was disgusting white dipping sauce with mayo in it. It should have been delicious thick yogurt with garlic. I dont know where this idea is coming from - some of the NYC afghan street vendors use mayo-based white sauce - this modification should be totally stamped out.
Some of the dishes were of high enough quality to make me think there is a real cook in the kitchen. Perhaps they are just not trying on the buffet. We will go back and check out the a la carte offerings.