Thanks so much to the Chowhounds who gave us suggestions for dinner in San Carlos Thursday night (scroll down a bit for posts)...we decided on Kabul, and were very pleased!
Kabul is tucked away in a strip mall, hidden enough that I would never have known it was even there, without help from the hounds...It didn't even look open, but once we walked in the space is quite lovely and spacious. The pretty decor and white tablecloths make the place seem more upscale than is reflected in the prices and casual dress of the patrons.
We were welcomed and seated immediately (no reservation). Only a few tables were taken, but it was well over half full by the time we left. Service was prompt, friendly and excellent.
There are a number of interesting choices on the menu, particularly of apps and side dishes, and I think we over-ordered out of a desire to try as much as possible! Hubby started with a lentil soup which was tomato based with kidney beans, vegetables and lentils, with a topping of yogurt that made it quite creamy. The soup was absolutely delicious. It was also almost a meal in itself: rich and rather heavy, and a bowl big enough to be an entree portion. I had the afghan equivalent of samosas, filled with ground lamb and chickpea, that were hot and tasty, and went well with the cilantro-chili sauce that was brought for the table.
Entrees: All entrees come with a simple but fresh 'afghan salad': romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber in a yoghurt based, peppery dressing. Hubby had lamb kabob. The lamb portion was very large, but more importantly, it was very well prepared: Flavorful, juicy, and not at all overcooked (which seems to happen all to often to kabobs). The kabob came with cinnamon spiced rice and 'afghan bread'. The bread was actually the only part of the meal that I didn't like: it tasted like oily foccacia to me, and I am most definitely NOT a foccacia fan).
I had a vegetable combo: a large plate of basmati rice served wtih my choice of three out of four veggie specials: I chose pumpkin, cauliflower and eggplant. The pumpkin was delicious and the cauliflower, in a spicy tomato sauce, was tasty. The eggplant was a little mushy, and thus my least favorite of the three. I found myself wishing I had ordered the fourth option, which was spinach.
In any case, we were stuffed and happy. I wouldn't suggest skipping apps, since there were many interesting ones to try, but perhaps a good approach for two persons would be to order apps for each, perhaps one side dish (many of the interesting veggie dishes, including the pumpkin, are available as side dishes), and just to split one entree.
Whether you order too much or not, Kabul is a good deal: our tab for two, with too much good food, two glasses of wine, coffee for one, tea for the other, tax and tip, was $60.
Kabul Afghan Cuisine
135 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070-2403
Phone: (650) 594-2840