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Wanna try Afghan....

l
Lisa M Dec 6, 2006 08:43 PM

Hi all,

I'll be on the west side in the 50's this evening, and was debating between Arianna or Afghan Kebab House, both of which are on Ninth Ave in the 50's. Menus look similar.

Anyone have a strong preference for either one? Also, it appears that the Kebab House has a BYOB policy. Anyone know offhand about Arianna?

TIA!

  1. ephramzz Apr 18, 2008 09:34 PM

    Went to Ariana last night and I was fairly underwhelmed, maybe it was I because  only got veggie dishes like the eggplant appetizer Baudinjan Buranee, spinach dumplings, and pumpkin curry.
    Everything was a bit bland and needed a heap of hot sauce thrown on top. My dining partner agreed.

    1. p
      Pan Dec 7, 2006 07:50 AM

      I decided a long time ago that Ariana was the best of the lot (of Afghan restaurants) in that hood. I'm still a satisfied customer and haven't felt any reason to give any other Afghan restaurants in the neighborhood another chance. I basically agree with MikeG, except that I've been going to Ariana since the 80s, easily.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Pan
        squid kun Dec 8, 2006 06:55 AM

        Any particular favorites among the kebabs and rice dishes? Taking a peek at the online menu, I'm also curious about the difference between the more expensive shish kebabs and the other kebabs.

        1. re: squid kun
          p
          Pan Dec 8, 2006 08:50 AM

          I'll mention various things I like, but I will also say that I don't get up there that often. The last time I was there was probably September, and before that, it might have been as much as a year.

          I like the Aush, though I think it used to be more peppery.

          My favorite appetizers are the Bolanee Qandana and Aushak.

          I don't remember which kebab the waiter/proprietor recommended last time I was there. It was one that had been charcoal broiled. He said it would be better than the others, and it was really good. I think it was Kabuli Palow with Lamb Tikka Kebab, and he provided lemons to squeeze on it, which made it even better. My general feeling is that you can't go wrong by ordering charcoal-broiled lamb there. I also like their pumpkin dish (which looks to be listed on the menupages.com menu as "Pumpkin Curry," but is different from Indian curries I've had). I don't remember the eggplant dishes too distinctly, but I believe I had the Baudinjan Buranee appetizer some time ago and liked it. I usually get Dough with the meal, which is a sour yogurt/cucumber/mint drink, and when I have dessert, I go for the firni, which in their rendition is really rice pudding with cardamom and crumbled pistachios and almonds.

          1. re: Pan
            squid kun Dec 8, 2006 06:39 PM

            Thanks, Pan – definitely on my list!

      2. s
        souldawg Dec 7, 2006 02:48 AM

        Bamiyan is hit or miss. I've been twice and once the pumpkin appetizer was great and fresh, the other time they definintely canned it.

        I also don't like the fact you have to pay $1 for a piece of bread. Hopefully they changed that-how else do you munch on the hummous?

        1. dkstar1 Dec 7, 2006 01:31 AM

          the only afghan cuisine I've had is at Bamiyan. I've been a couple of times (being that its in the neighborhood) but have nothing to compare it to. Nice enough place. Good food.

          1. k
            kiworan79 Dec 7, 2006 12:51 AM

            My SO and I love, love, love the Afghan Kebab House on the east side of 9th. We recommend the eggplant appetizer, the sambosa (sp?), the combo kebab (the lamb is tender and flavorful and the chicken is grilled to perfection and juicy), and MUST have a side order of the stew. SOOOOO good.

            1. MikeG Dec 6, 2006 10:25 PM

              I haven't been in a few years now, but for kebabs anyway, Afghan Kebab on the west side of 9th was "always" (10 years previous) much better than Arianna IMO. No reason in particular stands out, just better flavor and more tender meat. And better rice. One word of caution, the lamb kebabs tend to be overly gnarly, ironically, so stick with the beef. But that's not unusual in the city - good "cheap" lamb is hard to come by.

              I thought the one on 46th was actually bad overall. I never did figure out what the connection if any among them all was but the ones on Ninth were around first. (Somewhere unexpected, I came across yet another Afghan Kebab Number "X", but don't remember where now.)

              1. p
                Peter Cherches Dec 6, 2006 09:05 PM

                In my experience both were very good. I do know that the Afghan Kebab House that used to be on 46th Street was extremely slow. I haven't been to the one on Ninth Ave. for some time.

                If you have never eaten Afghan, one thing you must try is aushak, a chive dumpling served with a yogurt & chopped meat sauce, usually available as an appetizer.

                http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                3 Replies
                1. re: Peter Cherches
                  l
                  Lisa M Dec 6, 2006 09:47 PM

                  Thanks, Peter! I might just report back.

                  1. re: Lisa M
                    l
                    Lisa M Dec 9, 2006 02:26 PM

                    I ended up going to Ariana the other night. I had the aushak, which is described as "boiled dumplings..." but did not resemble round dumplings as I've had them in other cuisines. It was basically a flat noodle on the bottom of the plate, topped w/ground beef in a tomato-flavored sauce, and yogurt. Tasty, but not quite what I expected. For the main course, I had kabuli palow, made with lamb, which was delicious. The brown basmati rice was seasoned well (but not at all spicy; I used some of the hot sauce on the table to punch it up), and the lamb chunks were tender and flavorful.

                    I really enjoyed my meal, but now I have to try Afghan Kebab House too, after reading the favorable reviews!

                    1. re: Lisa M
                      p
                      Peter Cherches Dec 10, 2006 06:45 PM

                      Aushak is usually in a half-moon shape (or at least rolled) and stuffed with chives.

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