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Jan 13, 2008 06:30 AM

Afghan Kebab on Old Keene Mill in Springfield, VA

This place doesn't look like much from the outside, set behind a gas station in a kind of seedy looking strip mall. It's a large building, w/ a huge neon sign (which generally is a turn off) outside, big windows that are covered by drapes so it almost looks like it could be a bordello. My friend highly recommended it so we tried it out last night. Very surprising on the inside, nicely decorated, tables well set w/ tableclothes/linens, much nicer than we expected. We started with aushak (ravioli filled with leeks and yogurt mint and topped w/ meat sauce), boolawnee (pastry stuffed w/ scallions, leeks and potatoes), and mantu (pastry shells filled w/ onions and beef, served on yogurt and topped w/ carrots, yellow split peas and beef sauce). They were all excellent, and we particularly liked the mantu. Both mantu and aushak looked like they were made in house (they look like large tortolloni). The boolawnee was nice and crispy on the outside, chewy inside--like their nan served with the meals. Salads had a great yogurt mint dressing but it's January and the vegetables in the salad showed it. I had palau kebab w/ chicken--very good flavor and nice and tender (it's hard to do good chicken breast kebab and keep it this moist). The rice came w/a side meat sauce, probably the same one on the aushak. Meat sauce was good but the patties in the sauce a little dry. My husband enjoyed his deluxe grill of chicken, steak and shami, served on nan. We also split the flame kebab--basic grilled vegetables on nan. Lots of food, we were stuffed. The service was great. Helpful but unobtrusive. The owner makes his rounds, chats, makes sure everyone is happy and answers any questions about the food, restaurant, etc., though from the looks of the other patrons, we were one of the few non-regulars. We will be back. Don't let the outside discourage you! Skip the iced tea. Tasted like nestea powder but they do give you some nice spiced hot tea at the end. Great way to end the meal.

Afghan Kabob Restaurant
6357 Rolling Rd, Springfield, VA 22152

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  1. Thanks for the post. I too was put off by the exterior but will give it a try.

    1. That's one of our favorite places. The best thing is the Chopan kabobs which are little lamb chops. It's in a scary little strip mall, I have no idea what that place next door is, but the food is delicious!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jridou

        I have never eaten at this Kebab house, but can tell you it smells great from the outside. The reason I know it smells great is because I have waited in line for the place next door, which is called Jaxx - a great place to see live bands (If you can believe it, Ace Frehley from Kiss played there a few weeks ago). The reason I haven't been to the Kebab house yet is because I always seem to be running a bit late when I go see shows there, but I will make it eventually.

      2. We ate here last night and had a great meal. A salad of mostly iceberg lettuce came first. The mint dressing was nice but I could have done without it (it comes with the meal). For appetizers we had the mantu, homemade pastry shells filled with onions and beef topped with a ground beef sauce, and fried eggplant. Both dishes were excellent and came with very good nan. The mantu was plenty for two to share. For mains we had the aushak and chopan lamb chops. The four large lamb chops were wonderfully grilled and extremely flavorful and moist, served on top of another large nan that absorbed their juices along with a yogurt mint sauce. The aushak, which are a ravioli filled with leeks and covered in a meat sauce, was delicious and the pasta delicate. Next time we wouldn't get both the mantu and the aushak, since they were too similar, but I couldn't tell you to get one over the other because we really liked them both. We were too stuffed and took half of our entrees home, along with a wonderful house-made bacalava, which were better than most we've had. The restaurant was only half full and they seemed to have as many wait staff as tables. My only complaint was that the food came out too fast. Before we were done with the salads the appetizers were on the table. Before we were done with our appetizers the entrees came. There was not room on the table for both and the waiters didn't seem to understand that this might be a problem. I don't think we were being intentionaly rushed, I think that they just have too many staff with too little to do and the kitchen was working very fast. They don't have an alcohol license but I did notice that other tables had brought wine. There are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, prices were quite reasonable for the quantify and quality of the food, and the dining room was pleasant. We will definitely be back. And the restaurant is actually on Rolling Road just south of Old Keene Mill.

        1. The food here is pretty good, espescially if you're waiting for Jaxx to open, however I think it is more expensive than most kabob places around. In Main Springfield, behind the Kmart and Hardtime's Cafe, there is a Kebab place, The Flame Kabob, and their prices are lower and their food is just as good, if not better.

          1. Welcome to my neck of the woods, the underappreciated Springfield foodie scene. Afghan Kabob and Flame Kabob are both exceptional representations of this fine cuisine. There are many options in Springfield, however, and all over the culinary map.

            The best Chinese around is Canton Cafe in the K-Mart plaza. Behind the K-Mart is Manila Cafe, which is the best Philippines food around. Heading up and down Backlick Road is Brookfield Plaza, where you can eat all over the world for about $20 -- my favorites include Sahm Oh Jang for Korean and La Hacienda for Central American. Across Backlick is Le Bledo Bakery, with a very good Vietnamese buffet for lunch and dinner. Slightly south is Delia's, an exceptional ma-and-pa Greek run restaurant with Mediterranean food and good pizza, plus they also bought Peruvian chicken place next door and offer Peruvian fare with Greek fare! Farther north on Backlick is Gamasot, which many believe is the best Korean restaurant around.

            Keep coming to Springfield. There's good eats all around.

            5 Replies
            1. re: BigEats

              That's good to know. have you been to the indian and middle eastern places in the brookfield plaza? i have been a little leery of going in because both seemed to be totally 'native' of those countries. but that can be good too...please advise if you have been to these adn if they are good!

              1. re: DCDOLL

                I went to the Indian restaurant there which is half buffet, half restaurant. Got some of the absolutely worst takeout of my life. I went for the street food thinking it would be good but it was inedible and I threw it out. Don't recall the name but its in the left side of the plaza about half way down as you drive in. A door or two away is an excellent kabab place - I think Kabob House - that opened in the past year with daily steam table specials that rock and great Nan along with very good kababs. Its counter service. Do try it. Tippy's Tacos in the same plaza didn't do anything for me. It was fresh just nothing special. I haven't tried the other places there including a Vietnamese restaurant that was always empty when I went by. I've been meaning to try Gamasot and Delia's. I enjoy Afghan Kabab a lot and as a plus you can bring your own wine or beer. Its a little more expensive because its a sit down restaurant rather than a carry out/self serve. Their breads and appetizers are excellent, especially the eggplant, as well as their lamb.

                Cafe can be hit or miss, and i go there fairly regularly. Mostly its very good, not only the Cantonese specials like the hot pots, salt shrimp and squid, and roasted and bbq pork, but also the standard fare like sesame chicken and orange beef. And their shrimp dumpling soup (without noodles) is usually very good, as is their Hong Kong wonton soup. But every now and then they have some cooking who is not the regular chef and that can be pretty mediocre. This winter i went there and had some of the worst dim sum ever - tasteless and cold at noon on a Saturday. The next time I went in the spring on a Sunday at 1 and everything was surprisingly excellent. As good as I ever got at Oriental East in Silver Spring and elsewhere in the DC area over the years. It will be interesting to see what happens the third time. Still the best option in the immediate area.

              2. re: BigEats

                Is the vietnamese buffet still at Le Bledo and if so is it still good?

                1. re: BigEats

                  While you're praising Springfield eateries, don't forget Osaka Japanese, on that remote strip-mall section of Springfield Mall, behind Firestone. Good sushi, very attentive staff, and they remember you if you eat there more than once or twice. I'm always made to feel right at home.

                  The Thai place in that same strip mall isn't bad either. Not great (Thai Pilin in Tyson's Corner is my favorite), but it's not bad at all.

                  Back to the original post, I really enjoy the Kabul Kabob's lunch buffet. They do amazing things with vegetables there, especially eggplant.

                  1. re: Big Tony

                    The original post wasn't about Kabul Kabob, but Kabul Kabob is our personal favorite Afghan food in the area. We've only sampled Flame Kabob and Afghan Kabob once and we're always considering giving them a try again, but it's hard to pass up a sure good thing in Kabul Kabob.