Bamyan and other Afghan
Tom Hilton said, "There's an Afghan place in San Rafael I've heard good things about--I think it's called Bamyan. Have you been there? I thought it might be worth a stop on the way home from playing up north sometime."
I stopped into Bamyan in San Rafael once for a couple appetizers. It was good, just not quite up to The Helmand which few could be. Brandon Nelson knows the people there are has posted before. I've heard there's also a Bamyan in Alameda.
My first experience with Afghan food was the departed Khyber Pass in Berkeley when I was an undergrad and my parents were visiting. If anyone knows where those cooks went, please divulge. I'd love to taste some those dishes again, especially the spiced spinach.
I've posted recently on Pamir in Emeryville and Kabul in Redwood City. Have been wanting to try Kabul in Sunnyvale and Ashlee's in Foster City. I've heard there are a bunch of smaller places in the Fremont/Milpitas area too. Any advice?
Try Roya Afghan in Walnut Creek on North Main and Bonanza. My favorites: lamb, veal, pumpkin, spinach. Restaurant is tiny; kitchen a postage stamp; service good. Believe owner was cook at a great Afghan restaurant in a strip mall in San Carlos (can't remember the name!) Have also heard good things about Kandahar Cuisine in Concord (Mt. Diablo and Pacheco) but I haven't eaten there yet.
re: Melanie Wong
I'm a little ashamed to say The Helmand is the limit of my Afghan experience (apart from a stand that used to be in the Emery Bay Market). It's so good, and such a pleasant experience, that I've never been motivated to go anywhere else...sort of a double-edged sword.
So given my ignorance of Afghan food, I'm wondering: is The Helmand's menu made up of fairly standard dishes, or is it more unique than that? Do the other restaurants have Aushak, for example, or that pumpkin appetizer?
re: Tom Hilton
Tom, truly I'm not that far ahead of you! Aushak, mantu and the baked pumpkin are on Kabul's menu and I remember the aushak on pamir's too.
Before you start scouring Redwood City, I was mistaken. Kabul Afghan Cuisine is in San Carlos, on El Camino, across the strip mall parking lot from Long's Drugs. The wine list is terrible there but they do allow BYOB. Dont' remember exactly but think the corkage charge is about $7. When I was a couple bites into the perfect medium rare loin lamb chop I was really wishing I had a glass of peppery Syrah on hand.