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Jul 13, 2001 12:06 PM

Helmand's - Good recommendation!

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After reading numerous posts about Helmand's, I felt compelled to visit the place to check it out for myself.

A caveat: I'm Persian, and expected Afghani food to be similar. When I heard they had Aush (noodle soup), that was all I needed to get me in there!

We had the pumpkin appetizer and aush, both delicious. The pumpkin was very different from anything I've ever eaten. My partner thought the ground beef tasted strange with the yogurt and sweet pumpkin, but I thought they were nice texturally... The aush was very similar to the persian version, and hit the spot.

Dinner didn't seem at all "middle-eastern" to me -- rack of lamb and chicken salad. They were both phenomenally good, but didn't seem very authentic to me -- but that may have been my prejudice. The only thing that was close was the spiced polo (rice) which was lovely.

Dessert was VERY authentic baklava, middle eastern- style with cardamom (which Greek baklava doesn't use), and turkish coffee.

Even had time to read the grounds, which told me that my future "holds many delicious meals"! Thanks Chowhounds!

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  1. so nice to read a post about Helmand's. we used to eat there years ago and i was recently wondering if it still held to the goodness of yesteryear. i remember the lamb as being really great and some of the stews mouthwatering as well. thanks for the post!

    1. Afghani cuisine is often described as midway in style between Persian and Moghlai, which makes geographic sense.

      The only Persian place that I've tried locally is the take-out conter at Rose Market in Mountain View. I noticed a grand opening sign on a place on Van Ness and Sutter in SF and there's Maykadeh in North Beach. Here's a link to a mention of Shalizaar in San Mateo that I've been wanting to check out.


      5 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong
        Jennifer Fish Wilson

        I'm a Helmand fan, too. I'm sure I've recommended the following before but would be interested in Fatemeh's opinion of:
        Kabul in San Carlos
        Roya Afghan in Walnut Creek
        I am not a Afghani expert but enjoy all three.

        1. re: Jennifer Fish Wilson

          Jen, did you end up catering in from Kabul?

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            Jennifer Fish Wilson

            What a memory, Melanie! No, did not send the new parents food from Kabul. Tradition won out--made them chicken soup with matza balls instead.

            1. re: Jennifer Fish Wilson

              I'm sure they appreciated the love and care in that soup.

              How would you compare Kabul and Royal Afghan? Given the history of the owner, could you see the family resemblance?

          2. re: Jennifer Fish Wilson

            Thanks Jennifer... I will try all these and let you know what I think. Any recommendations for what to order? Are there any "don't-miss" dishes on the menu?

            Frankly, I don't remember what I did before all the Chowhound recommendations!

        2. I had a very good meal at Kasra, a Persian place on Clement and 5th Ave. If you do visit this place, I would love to hear your opinion as I know nothing about Persian food. Thanks!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Limster

            Thanks, Limster. I'm actually thinking I might try Kasra this weekend; I'll be sure to report back.

            The thing I miss most are the "chelo-kababis" in S. California. A big mound of fluffy, fragrant saffron-scented basmati, with a skewer of beef or chicken marinated just right and practically dissolving on your tongue.

            Crack open a raw egg yolk over the rice, and top with a couple of grilled tomatoes... mmmm, good.

            Yes, I do believe I will try Kasra and let you all know!