Helmand's - Good recommendation!
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!
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.
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!