Review of Afghan House (semi-longish)
- Cyrus J. Farivar
After hearing about the Afghan House in an earlier posting (scroll down a bit), I took my folks and a couple friends and we made the trek out to Northridge to check out the Afghan House.
When we walked in tonight at about 7 pm, and I was suprised to find the place nearly deserted. With capacity for nearly 20 or so, and two near-to-the-ground tea tables for 4 each, the place seemed like it could be popping. It had 4 people in the entire place when we walked in.
To it's credit, it did have nice decor. Featuring a large painted map of Afghanistan on the wall, and beautiful carpets on the wall...and a picture of Gen. Massood near the kitchen.
The people who we sat down next to, who were nearly ready to leave, quickly recommended an appetizer that they had had called Aushak, which was described in the menu as "Steamed dumpling filled with leek and spring onion topped with yogurt and meat sauce, sprinkled with mint". It resembled a Persian dish that I am familiar with called Kashke bodom'joun, and was very good. ($3.99)
My Dad ordered everything for us in Persian (turned out that our waitress was Persian, from Isfahan), so I'm not exactly sure what we ordered, but we had two dishes of chicken kabob, which were pretty good.
The best thing though, and my Dad agreed, which we ate as an hors d'oeuvre, was the "Sabzi" (sauteed spinach cooked with ginger, tomatoes and spices), which was eaten as on the Afghani bread (we observed the waitress coming in later in the evening with a new bag of bread that she bought from the Afghani/Pakistani/Indian grocery store next door. (Dad suspected that they were owned by the same people.)
All in all, I was not that impressed with the food at the Afghan House. I've had much better Persian food at places in Westwood, and this place was very similar to the Persian food that I have had. I was looking forward to savoring the differences between Persian and Afghani food.
I'm willing to accept that this was an off-night...I'd like to know when the "prime time" to go is. They advertised outside an all-you-can-eat buffet during the week for lunch. Maybe it's better then...I don't know.
I did enjoy the prices (highest thing on the menu was $9.99) and also my dokh (Blended yogurt, cucumber and mint drink) ($0.99).
I'd be interested to hear other people's reaction to this place and if other people know of other Afghani places in LA.
although I havent' been to Afghan House, I went to Afghan Cuisine/Golestan quite a few times and I remember the old Magnolia.
Aushak is quite good. Sambosas are good. I like the soups. The quail I had was marvelous.
What would have interested me, given the circumstances of your visit and the ability to speak not only with the Iranian waitress but with the Dari speaking owner (I'm guessing) would have been to have asked what they had that was very different from Persian food, something they thought would have been unusual for you. Even if off the menu...
I like Persian food as well, I enjoy Shahrzad flame because of the fresh bread right out of the open oven. I liked a place that closed a while back, Cozy Dizi restaurant that had the dish of a lamb soup with garbanzos served with a small mallet for grinding in the serving vessal. I'd like to find another place that serves that (is it ab-e goosht? or Dizi? I don't really know).
Where is Afghan Cuisine/Golestan? It sounds really good...I was looking forward to a sambosa...they weren't on the menu at all.
As for asking for something off of the menu...my Dad said that he got the impression that the cook cooked a bunch of things earlier in the day and then took off. He was talking with the waitress who said that the cook had already left (around 8 pm on a Friday night, remember!)...seemed kinda bizarre to me.
re: Cyrus J. Farivar
They were on Ventura just west of White Oak at New Castle. They were subject to arson a week or so after the World Trade Center attack, possibly a hate-inspired fire-bombing. It was in the paper.
re:sambosas. Golestan didn't have it on the menu either, but I called the owner the first time I went, asked about them and she was happy to have made them for my party.
A few months before they were closed, the menu shifted to more Iranian items, and less Afghan, because there is a much larger Persian community here than Afghan (unlike DC). But a simple chat with Rita (the old owner) on the phone a day or two ahead would provide one with an interesting menu. I don't know if they have or will reopen.
Nice note for smokers, they had a pretty enclosed patio with a fountain where smoking was permitted.
Just found an old card. For what it's worth, 17970 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818=343-1223.