bahar - queens blvd afghan
Went to Bahar on Saturday night. It is an Afghan restaurant located on Queens Blvd. slightly west of Grand Ave / Broadway. There was a fire on this block many months ago, however, they rebuilt and reopened recently.
Started off with Manto - very tasty beef dumplings in a warm tomato-yogurt sauce. The complexity of the dumpling meat was amazing - a mix of many spices and herbs with ground beef in dough shaped like a three-cornered hat. I was a bit uneasy about the sauce combo (tomato & yogurt?) but it too was very nicely done - a perfect combo of flavors. I don't think they usually provide bread with this dish, but get some if you go - that sauce is just too good to waste a drop.
Our pretty and charming waitress told us that Manto and Samosa are her two favorite apps - something to try next time....
We then had the Tandori Chicken and Khoresh Bangan - the chicken was moist tender and flavorful, with a cinnamony taste, very nice, but could have been spicier. I really liked the Khoresh - lamb, tomatoes, eggplant, all stewed together. Both dishes came with their homemade bread and about 2 pounds of tasty rice.
The kebabs here look very nice - they have a huge charcoal grill in the kitchen - something else to try in the future.
Between Bahar and Kazan, the Turkish place farther east on Queens Blvd, we are fortunate to be getting some nice, carefully prepared food from the mideast. Give them both a try, and focus on the fresh appetizers- from my experience, I always seem to like them better. My M.O. at these places in the future will be to do 2-3 apps and then split a main dish. Bonus: BYOB is permitted and happily welcomed at both places. God, I love eating in Queens!
We used to eat at Bahar quite alot before it burnt down and looked foward to the reopening. Have been there 2 times since it reopened. The lastest being XMAS eve. Went with a group of 12 we sat upstairs and were able to BYOB, which is a bit dicey since it is a Muslim place, but we had cleared it with the owner first.
Our favorite app there is the pumpkin turnover. It's a sweet pumpkin filling in a crisy thin triangle with yummy yogurt dipping sauce. The mantouk and ashok have changed since the previous rendition of this place. I find them dissapointing the other version was much more complex and interesting. The desserts there are great too especially the milky pudding. But my favorite dish is the chunks of grilled lamb with the saffron rice. The rice is amazing, it's flavored with slivers of almonds, pieces of whole pistachio and slivers of preserved orange rind. I forgot the name but it sounds something like nah -rahng (like orange. A vegetarian in our party order a dish with okra, spinach & eggplant. I tasted the okra which was really delish. Last time my cousin order the dal. It was good, but different from the Indian dal we are used to. They use alot of tomato sauce. My son had the salmon kebab - so so The food varies but there are some great things and some really crappy stuff (like the complimentary salad with weird yogurt/mayo dressing - ask for yogurt sauce instead)
As for the turkish place Kazan- stick to the appetizers, they are really excellent, but the mains are fairly standard and boring. We go there have a huge self ordered mezze of apps for 3-4 people and it comes out to $10 a head and they have no problem with BYOB.