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Jan 21, 2011 07:25 PM

Visiting SF - Helmand?

i've tried a Helmand restaurant in Baltimore, MD and another in Cambridge, MA while traveling for work. Both were excellent and I heard both are under common ownership, possibly by a relative of Karzai. Is the SF Helmand part of the same group? I haven't been back to the DC or Boston areas recently, but would like to try the one in SF if it's as good! I remember excellent grilled lamb, chive dumplings (aushak), braised pumpkin with tangy yogurt and meat sauce with coriander, and a great vegetarian soup (aush) at the Baltimore location especially because I ate there more often.

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  1. Yes, the SF Helmand is part of the same group and it's very good.

    1. Yeah, same family. Lots of reports in the archive. No longer open for lunch.

      Helmand Palace
      2424 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

      1. The original location on Broadway was part of the group. But now Helmand Palace on Van Ness is independently owned and operated by Daud Zaheer.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Same furnishings and glassware as well.

        1. I was there in December and though the food was good, the overwhelming smell of mold was part of the experience as well and undermined the meal.

          1. After reading about this spot for a long time, and being impressed with the favorable reviews, 2 of us went last nite.

            I really liked that it's quiet, and you can actually have conversation. Sometimes you just want to sit for a long time and talk. And the tray of dipping sauces was lovely.

            But to be honest, we were put off by the mildew smell that greets you in the front (fortunately, that's the only place -- must have had water damage at some point.) Mostly we were underwhelmed by the food. The bread was not particularly flavorful. The dishes we ordered were all ok. The lamb was tender. My friend complained that the chicken was a bit over cooked. But mostly, neither entree sparkled with seasoning.

            So I'm wondering if they've changed? Or has the bar been raised by other Afghani restos around the bay area now.

            btw, Service was excellent.

            1 Reply
            1. re: escargot3

              I stopped going there after a fairly mediocre meal at the new location (I was a big fan before). Would love to hear about other restaurants people really like. I've been to Salang Pass in Fremont, found it better than the current Helmand.

              Salang Pass
              37462 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536