Reivew of Azeen's Afghani in Pasadena
I know Azeen's already gets much love on these boards, but we just went for the first time the other night, so I thought I would write a review. The food was great. My husband was a bit skeptical, but even he had to admit that it was very good and we would be back.
We had the aushuk. They describe them as leek and scallion dumplings topped with meat sauce, so I was a bit surprised when they came out. They're more like very flat ravioli. I wasn't a huge fan of the meat sauce, but it was good. I had the challaw bandenjan, like an eggplant stew, which was very good. It reminded me a bit of Indian food. My husband had the lamb loin chop, which was excellent. I don't like lamb because of that particular gamey taste, but it tasted more like beef and it was nice and tender. Our meals also came with salad, which we weren't expecting, which was nice. The bread was also good. And I loved the green sauce that they bring out that, as the waitress rightly said, tastes good with everything. I can't remember the other ingredients, but she did say jalapenos. I asked if it was a traditional sauce because somehow I didn't expect jalapenos, and she said yes and she was also surprised.
The service was nice, though when the restaurant got very busy, it was a bit slow. It wasn't cheap, but overall, it's a great restaurant, definitely one of the better ones in Pasadena, and we will be back! I'm excited to try all of the other stuff.
Here's a link to their website. It lists prices, which is nice.
For my Indian palate, Azeen's was hugely underwhelming. Here is what I wrote in July 2007 in thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/422849
I am no expert on Afghani food, but I had lunch last Tuesday at this restaurant, and came away underwhelmed. Perhaps my expectations were unrealistically high.
We had the KABOB-E-GOUSFAND (Tender cubes of lamb) for $12.90. It came with pallaw (rice pullao) and their bread. Four chunks of marinated grilled lamb, but for $13 for lunch it was NOT a good value.
We also had HOUSE COMBINATION PLATTER (atter of Aushak, Sambosa, Bulanee) for $8.90. All three components were fine, but nothing to write home about. The Sambosa (equivalent to Indian samosa - triangular turnovers) had more chickpea paste than ground beef. The Aushak (leef and scallion filled pancakes topped with yogurt and meat sauce) was also fine, but much better scallion pancakes can be had in the Chinese restaurants in Monterey Park/Alhambra. The Bulanee (turnover filled with leek, scallions and herbs) was similar to the Sambosa in appearance, slightly different in taste.
We also ordered a side dish of GULPI (Stew of cauliflower cooked with ginger onions and tomatoes) for $3.90. While competently done, it was so similar to the generic cauliflower subzi at most Indian restaurant buffet lunches, that it was mostly wasted.
The total bill for 2 came to $32 - NOT a good value in my personal opinion.