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Jul 2, 2013 07:54 PM

Babur Garden ~ Afghan in Ocean Twp.

Have been hearing about this place for a couple months and decided to give it a try. A large, brightly lit dining room in Cobblestone Village off West Park Ave.

There were 9 or so tables occupied on a Tuesday night which was pretty impressive, given they've only been open for 3 months. Was immediately greeted and seated; am not sure but the staff seemed to be family.

Warm flat bread is immediately brought to the table as well as a collection of 3 sauces which are touted as mild, spicy and a white yogurt sauce. They are all good but I have to say the "mild" sauce was spicier than I expected and the "Spicy" was also rather spicy (Neither was really hot, but tasty). Liked them all!

Decided to go for the base line Lamb Tikka Kabob. It is listed on the menu as coming with a Soup, Salad and choice of Rice. This was the first confusion as there are several soups and salads listed on the menu and it was not clear that you can choose between them. The soup offered was the carrot soup, which was really good. Not totally pureed with some chunks , but I would have rather had the Dal soup offered on the menu. It was not clear if all the soup choices were available all the time, or if the choices were limited when ordering the kabobs.

There did not seem to be a choice of salad, and what was served was the Aphgan Salad, which though good, left me wondering if the other 2 salads could have been substituted. Again, even when asking this was not clear.

The Kabob itself was quite tasty. Chunks of lamb grilled and served with rings of raw onion and the spices they were marinated in. They had been removed from the skewar which was fine by me, and I enjoyed eating them with spoonfuls of the 3 sauces along with the spicy rice I ordered. The amount of lamb was not huge but given that it included the soup, salad, bread, rice and sauces it was really quite a deal. Dinner before tip was less than $20.

This place seems to be garnering some local word of mouth in this area, and I can understand why. There is nothing comparable in Monmouth County, and I can see how they might pull in a serious following. Hopefully they will clear up some of the confusion as to what is included with the kebabs, and will let me order some of the spicy soup!

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  1. I keep meaning to check it out but haven't had a chance yet...can't wait to try it!

    1. Thanks for the link. I'd looked for it before posting my own 2 cents. Couldn't find it!

      1. I have to be in that immediate area later this month and I will def. give Babur Garden a try for lunch. Thanks for the link!

        5 Replies
        1. re: HillJ

          I went over the weekend for the first time and enjoyed the meal. They now do a lunch buffet on the weekends, which was nice since I am not much experienced with Afghani food. The staff walked me through each dish and I enjoyed two plates with awesome fresh bread. The only thing I missed out on we're the kabobs so I will have to return for those. There are a few places near Somerset I believe that might warrant a trip to compare.

          The place was empty when I went at around noon on Sunday so not sure if it is catching on or not.

          1. re: LifeGeek

            That's helpful add'l info, LifeGeek-thanks! I'll be in that area during the work week so maybe the buffet won't be avail for me. I don't eat large portions, so buffets typically are overkill for me...but, also a nice way to try a lot of different flavors.

            If I make it, I'll report back here.

            1. re: HillJ

              Enjoyed their buffet lunch today. For $10.95 the buffet included roasted chicken (thigh and leg), four different styles of rice (spinach, yellow, brown with carrot and plain), cauliflower braised in spices, cooked pumpkin, Afghan salad, breaded eggplant bites, a surprising addition of mashed potatoes, lamb meatballs in a nicely spiced gravy, warm naan, lentil soup and the only dessert offered was a light and creamy Afghan rice pudding. I tried everything but the mashed potatoes and enjoy it very much. Just the right about of spice and everything was kept warm/hot to my liking (from buffets). I also ordered a hot Chai which was very satisfying with hits of cardamom and served as my dessert.

              Since there were only four tables occupied for lunch the buffet was barely touched and appealed to me over finding out that on the weekends they only offer a la carte entrees at dinner prices-no lunch pricing on the weekends.

              It's a large, roomy space. The owner and his servers were very attentive and eager to explain what the buffet choices were and how the dishes are prepared. I'd go back with a group eager to try this cuisine.

              1. re: HillJ

                I found out the same thing. They have a lunch menu but you can't order lunch on a weekend? They make you buy a dinner. I found that pretty strange. Its like they are bullying you into the buffet.

                I opted for a dinner chicken kabob dish. It was decent and a bit juicier than the chicken at the buffet (which my wife had.) I'd recommend the buffet if anyone goes.

                I wasn't blown away by this place but it was cool to try something new. At 10.95 the buffet wont break the bank. The highlight of the meal was the bread and those 3 sauces...good stuff.

                Waiter was top notch and I believe a relative or close friend of the owner. He went above the call of duty to explain the ingredients in various dishes.

                1. re: corvette johnny

                  We now serve lunch specials on the weekend for anyone wondering

        2. Thanks Mark, I will be checking this place out soon.

          I still want to get back to the Gardenia grill and try the chicken kebabs. I had a mixed platter and found the chicken to be the best of the group. I want to get the full dish and I think I will be happy with it. I'd check it out if you are in the area

          1. I'm looking at the menu and this is just Persian food, basically