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!
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.
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.