Last night my girlfriend and I made an emergency trip to IKEA. Not too excited about swedish meatballs, we decided to check out the Emeryville Public Market for dinner (based on chowhound rec's).
What a winner! It reminds me a little of Fanuel Hall in Boston, except with better options and less tourists. It was late (8:30), so a few stalls were closed, and everybody was offering handouts. It all looked great, but neither of us had ever tried Afghan food, so we both ate at Pamir. We both got 2-item combos, and so got to sample four dishes. The names of the dishes I made up myself...the signs had been taken down, and we chose everything based on samples that the owner patiently gave us.
saffron chicken curry: this was the big winner. the chicken was fall-off-the-bone caliber (though boneless) and had a nice saffron, light curry flavor. the owner told us to "eat it slowly; savor it on your tongue" and i'm glad he did. the sauce had a sort of delayed response and literally exploded with flavor on my mouth.
sauteed eggplant: pretty close to bengan bartha in my book. the eggplant was perfect consistency for me, sufficiently soft without being gooey.
mixed vegetable curry: a veritable garbage plate of vegetables cooked in a curry that had a strong tomato/pepper flavor. the spiciest thing we had, but well within gringo range.
braised tofu & peas: the blandest dish we got. oddly, the sauce had a strong pea flavor, which i didn't like so much, but my girlfriend did. light turmeric flavor. nice spongy tofu had sponged the sauce flavors.
we rounded it out with a fresh pomegranate juice and an almond-saffron milk. The pomegranate juice was just a little tart and refreshing with dinner; the milk was very sweet, reminded us of a tapioca drink, but made a nice dessert. The crushed almonds and saffron coagulated into chunks at the bottom, providing a nice occasional zing through the straw.
all for less than 20 dollars with tip. amazing.
is there an afghan restaurant in san francisco, or do we have to cross the bridge?
Pamir @ Emeryville Public Market
5959 Shellmound Street
Emeryville, CA 94608-1962