Kabul House in skokie
- zim Sep 19, 2001 12:12 PM
anybody been there?
there was an article in the sun-times today about the owner and his family's past trouble with the taliban.
I can't find an address for the place anywhere though
This is the place that used to be "La Rosa pizza and afghan fine cuisine" on Main street in Evanston. They moved over to Dempster to have more room and parking. Plus the landlord on Main wouldn't fix some code violations and was upping the rent a lot.
The new location is JUST west of McCormick on the north side of the street. It's the first storefront past the bank. Used to be a Sushi place, there's still lots of Japanese decor elements there.
We get takeout from there on a regular basis, the food is quite good and they are nice people. The Trib review by Monica Eng gave them 2 forks, I've linked to it below.
As Lee said this is the place that used to also serve pizza on Main street. The new location is all afghani food(except for the option of cannoli for dessert).
We were there for an early dinner last night, at first it was fairly empty (I think because of the time--trying to fit dinner in on the kids extracurricular schedule we were on the senior citizen early bird seating)but during the meal about 10-12 other diners came in, a number it seemed carryovers from their evanston location. The owner took the time to come to each table and speak to each customer about the meal.
It is hard for me to describe the food without resorting to comparisons to indian and persian food so if you are unfamiliar with those cuisines my apologies.
For an appetizer we had the aushak--dumplings filled with cooked scallions and served covered with a yoghurt and a "meat sauce"--we actually had our meat sauce on the side. The dumplings to me seemed a little overcooked as were the scallions but they had a nice flavor. we did really enjoy the meat sauce which was similar to an indian keema (ground lamb/meat in a slightly tomatoey oily sauce with cumin, coriander and other spices)--my son licked his plate clean of it.
For entrees we all split the vegetarian combo, and the super combo (meat/kabob). both came with a fairly large (but not noon-o-kabob) size portions of rice studded with raisins? (could have been small currants) and topped with a few sauteed 'til sweet carrot strips. also they came with a house salad with a yoghurt dressing.
The vegetarian combo came with four small servings of the vegetarian dishes on the menu--Subzi (spinach--didn't do much for us, rather bland and cooked for very long)A thick lentil dish (which wasn't listed on the menu in the order-but was ok), Bourani banjee (sp?)--a nice eggplant dish similar to indian bartha--eggplant, tomatoes and onions fried with light spicing until the eggplant falls apart, this was my favorite veggie. The fourth vegetable was Kadhu-pumpkin, this was very sweet and had been cooked with cinnamon,cloves, and possibly nutmeg,as well as more traditional indian spicing. It was a little sweet for my tastes but everyone else enjoyed it.
The "super combo" was a skewer's worth each of shami kabob (similar to an indian shami kabob in spicing), lamb kabob, and chicken kabob. the lamb kabob in particular was marinated nicely and juicy. They were all nice if not as succulent as noon-o-kabob's versions.
My favorite thing though was the afghan tea, with flavors of cinnamon, and light cardamom--really reminded me of a tea from kashmir called Kava. After you order it you should let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute as it will develop more flavor/color (the tea fannings are in the bottom of the glass)and always add sugar. My wife and I each had two cups and my son, whenever I stepped away from the table, would grab big gulps of mine. I would go back for that tea alone.
I do hope that in time they serve more of the home-type dishes (non kabob).
Zim, thanks for the Kabul update. Your report reminded me of my long ago thought that Afghan food served as a culinary bridge between Middle-Eastern type "dry" food and Indian style "wet" food. I had always thought that Afghan food combined the best of both schools.
My other thought about your Kabul meal is that you failed to mention two of the most important items of an Afghan meal (to me at least): the bread and the chutney or hot sauce for the kebabs.
re: Vital Information
bread: pita brought pre-meal soft and chewy could have been warmed.
Nan with meal--we didn't get, choice with most of entrees but we were all in a rice mood.
Chutney--only one with kabob-of the coriander chutney variety (green, a little spicy,a little thicker than usually given with indian kabobs, but thinner than that given with samosas)
I have only been to the original Evanston location a while back but the bread served there was just as Lee describes. Im pretty sure its the stuff baked by a local Afghan bakery. Ive bought their long oval loaves at several shops on Devon and at Andys Fruit Ranch on Kedzie. I cant remember the name of the bakery (I think the plastic bag might just say Afghan Bakery) or its location (maybe N California but thats just a guess). Does anyone know where this place is? Its very good bread.
Went last night (Sun) and the place was packed! Glad they are getting some more business. Service was very spotty (tables having orders taken randomly, 2 bottles of wine, 4 people, only given 2 wine glasses) the food was very good. We had a basket of the afghan bread given to us with our meal (maybe because we ordered appetizers that needed bread?).
They do takeout too, and there seemed to be a steady stream of orders going out.
I actually went back sunday drawn by descriptions of the bread and wanting more tea, Unfortunately I had not checked my menu and they weren't open yet.
when you say a basket of bread do you mean pita--that was what was brought out to our table on our initial visit, not puffy, not nan-like in any way, no sesame. Maybe we were just unlucky that day.
The service is somewhat slow and spotty but I think they are aware of it --there is a sign out front for help wanted