Anyone eaten at The Helmand?
Yup. Just last week, in fact. I thought it was a treasure.
* The food is much like Indian fare, with familiar breads and relishes, but vegetables are roasted or sauteed such that they end up separate, rather than in a puree.
* The staff cares. They clearly love what they do, and it shows through in the service and the food.
* The setting is nice. It's essentially a concrete block, but they've jazzed it up with a nice couch, some oriental rugs, and an open hearth. People arrive in a range of attire, from fairly buttoned-down to casual, so it's comfortable as long as you're not in sweats and a t-shirt. My only complaint was that I came home with clothes smelling like a wood fire, but I'll take that over cigarette smoke any day.
Specifics that impressed me:
* The vegetable dishes. Very creative and flavorful. I tasted some excellent roast pumpkin and eggplant, and I tried one of their leek-stuffed pumpkin raviolis. Tasty.
* My main course: I had one of the specials -- sea bass with vegetables. It was really flavorful, and just perfectly cooked. The texture was almost like perfect monkfish.
* The breads - like Nan, but chewier. Very nice.
* The service was absolutely stunning. I showed up late to join a party of eight. As I sat down, the others' food was being served. I was quickly offered a menu, and no sooner than I had asked for the sea bass did it arrive. The waiter had liberated it from another order that hadn't come out of the kitchen yet, as he wanted to make sure that our table all got to eat together. The waiters were very attentive, and just generally nice guys.
By all means, go. I'd love to hear what others think of the place.