Just wanted to post a brief message about a recent meal at The Helmand (430 Broadway). It's had a brief mention on this board but I really thought the place deserved a bit more of a plug.
Never having tried Afghan food before I don't have anything to compare it with but it was all totally delicious. Obviously there's tons of lamb and all of the dishes I tried (especially something called Deygee Kebab, steamed and sauteed lamb served with something that tastes like a tart Indian daal and the most fantastic baked pumpkin, doesn't sound that great but all mixed together it was great) were delicious.
Starters were really filling but definitely worth trying - one in particular, bowlawni, pastry shells filled with spiced potatoes and a leek mixture had us all fighting over the last bit.
Sadly, jet lag meant that our heads were dropping by the end and we didn't get to try the coffee which looked very exotic. Maybe on my next trip....
Everyone's comments on the Helmand are right on the mark. It is a place that never disappoints. Anything with pumpkin in it should be tried. The soup Aush (sp?), is a "don't miss". The place is quite reasonable considering the quality of food serves, and they comp the parking at a lot a few doors down the street.
I've eaten here perhaps 6-7 times over the past 10 years, and never had a bad experience.
re: george osner
No, that's Broadway in The City (I call it that just to irritate the New Yorkers ;-) ), between Montgomery & Kearny.
I have to second the recommendation--The Helmand is one of my favorite restaurants, period. (In fact, I may have made the prior reference to it.) Everything I've had there is excellent. More appetizers to try: Aushak, which is a leek-filled ravioli with spiced tomato sauce and yogurt on it; and one whose name I don't recall, which is pumpkin with a ground lamb or beef in tomato sauce over it. The bread is very different, and excellent--flattish, maybe an inch thick, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. One dessert that sounds odd but shouldn't be missed: sheerekh, which is vanilla ice cream and frozen ricotta, served with a little dish of ground pistachio & cardamom to sprinkle on top.
I find the ambience quite relaxing. They have a full bar, which can be a plus, although there are plenty of other nearby places to get a pre-dinner martini (The Cypress Club is my favorite). The coffee is delicious--turkish coffee, with whole cardamom pods thrown into the brew--but the spectacle of making it is most of the fun.