Kabul review - ok Afghani in San Carlos
Couldn't find any recent reviews, so I thought I'd post on last night's dinner.
Pakawra E Katchalu (batter-dipped potatoes with yogurt and meat sauce) - although the same yogurt and meat sauce came with several other dishes, it was especially good with these. They're more pastry-like than the description suggested - sort of fried turnovers stuffed with mashed potato.
Shrimp kebabs - smoky, juicy, sweet, perfectly cooked. We didn't get any meat kebabs, but I think the grill may be their strong point.
Kadu - pumpkin (tasted like they'd been stewed in sweet spices) with the same yogurt and meat sauce as the pakawra. Tasty, but didn't move me the way the pakawra e katchalu did.
Mater challaw - lamb stewed with peas, onion, tomato, spices - very tender lamb, balanced spices, the most Indian-tasting of the dishes.
Mantoo (onion and lamb dumplings with yogurt and vegetable sauce)
Aushak (leek and spring onion dumplings with yogurt and meat sauce)
These made me sad. When I lived in NYC, there was a restaurant near me that had tiny (about the size of a thumbnail) lamb dumplings that I loved, and I haven't found anything like them since. The meat in the mantoo was underseasoned - with my eyes closed, I don't know if I would have been able to distinguish a mantoo from an aushak. At least the pasta wrappers were al dente.
Rice comes with entrees and was perfectly cooked and well seasoned (depending on the dish, it was either plain or spiced with coriander, cinnamon, probably some other spices as well). The Afghani bread (large foccacia-like squares) was ok, not the best I've had.
I think most of their reputation comes from their kebabs, and from the sample of shrimp kebab that I had, it's probably well deserved. Problem is that my craving is for good mantoo... if anyone can recommend a place, please tell me!
The restaurant's in a strip mall, so parking's easy. Interior is quite nice, almost formal. Attentive service. Dinner (with one bottle of wine) for 5 people came to about $25/pp.
135 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA