Helmand Palace Query [San Francisco]
A couple of months ago, a few friends who had eaten at the Helmand on Broadway before the slide went to dinner at Helmand Palace, and they said the food was distinctly mediocre and nothing like before. I see that people on the board are still recommending it highly. Is that based on recent experience? I'm hoping they just hit a really off night.
I had a delicious meal there in late May. Not everything is equally good--I still prefer their appetizers to the mains--but there's been no change in quality that I can perceive. It was also packed.
I never went to the place on Broadway but I LOVE the place at its current location. I haven't been since April since I am trying to loose weight, but I've ordered half the things on the menu and can't get enough.
I stopped by HP for a light supper a week ago, my first visit to the new digs. I ordered two apps: mantwo and kaddo. The mantwo were lovely, maybe even better than before. But I was disappointed in the kaddo, doubly so because it had been my favorite dish. While the menu still describes it as seasoned with sugar, this had none of the additional sweetness or carmelly flavors. Also, it was grainy, lacking the oily and jellied texture of the original that was so unique. It wasn't special anymore. Also, instead of the housebaked rounds of thick Afghan bread, such as depicted in the painting on the wall, HP serves flatbread. However, it is warm and fresh, so I can't complain. The tray of condiments with it was the same as ever, still love the green mint chutney. Two apps was just the right amount of food for me, nice to get out for under $20. Oh, and the place was packed on Sunday night.
P.S. I'm amused by how many 'hounds are posting tonight (Saturday), usually a low traffic time of the week. Didn't anyone go out on the town?
Landing back in the City on Friday evening, something walking distance and vegetarian sounded good to me. I dropped in at Helmand Palace for the first time in five years, and I remembered that the two other times I'd considered eating there, I'd turned away due to a moldy/mildewy smell in the dining room. Luckily it has disappeared and it was safe to go in again.
The condiments with the flat Afghani bread still make a welcoming start. Then veggie aushak, filled with leeks and scallions, but overwhelmed with sweet carrot taste that not even the tang of the yogurt sauce could moderate. I'll stick to the meated version next time. Mashawa, a yogurt-enriched soup with shreds of tender lamb, fragrant spices, and chickpeas was very filling and comforting.
Service was very attentive and friendly even with a full house and a couple large groups. With tax and tip, I was out for under $17.