De Afghanan Kabob House is Baaaaaack! (SF)
Reports appeared on Yelp today that a branch of De Afghanan Kabob House has opened at 1035 Geary St., between Polk and Van Ness.
Hope it sticks around longer than its previous Polk Street incarnation did.
Stopped in today after a farmer's market run at UN Plaza. This was my first visit to any De Afghanan location, as I missed the previously closed SF place and passed on my one chance to hit the one in Berkeley.
Had the combo kebab (steak+chicken for $14). I thought this was solid value for the price once all the fixins' were taken into account. Both kebabs had a tenderness that I've only seen rivaled in the mixed grill at Mela Tandoori Kitchen (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862565 ). Definitely need to come back to see what the fuss is all about with the chapli here.
Last week I shared in some take-out from De Afghanan SF.
The bolani filled with leeks and potato tasted fine, but the crust softened too much after transport in a pizza box. Much better to have this on-site. The take-out menu lists a pumpkin version that I'd like to try next time.
Sabzi challow turned out to be the vegetarian version and not with lamb shanks.
Kado bourani was dense and firmish in texture, and not nearly as sweet as Helmand's. This had a bulls eye of very hot red chile pepper that I needed to eat around. I'd ask for less next time, but i did like the effect.
The signature chaplee still defines the dish for me. Crusty on the edges, robustly spiced, good grill notes, and tender through the middle, the two beef patties were accompanied by two kinds of rice, salsa fresca-like relish, and tart potato-garbanzo salad plus afghan bread. This is the reason to eat here.
No mantu on the menu in San Francisco.
My first visit to De Afghanan in Fremont (September 2005)
Made it in for lunch today. Ordered the lamb kabob and it was excellent. Tender and moist boneless chunks of lamb cooked to a perfect medium rare upon request (this has been a problem at the last few kabob type places I have been). Marinade was not too strong and well balanced. The accompanying rice duo however was just meh.
Got a taste of my DC's caplee kabob and enjoyed it has well - just as Melanie described it.
Our meals also came with a small bowl of shornakhod presented as a starter (cold garbanzos, potatoes, and onion swimming in a slightly minty, super tart, green sauce). It certainly primed the taste buds for what was to follow.
We didn't care much for the side of Afghani flat bread. It was chewy and mostly flavorless.
Had lunch here on Sunday. Ordered the chicken, beef and chapli kebab triple kebab combination with rice (~18). Really excellent kebabs. Beef and chicken perfectly cooked, juicy and tender. Sprinkled with a bit of I think sumac. A squeeze of lime helped cut through the richness. Chaplee kebab also tasted really good. Saltier than the chunks of meat. Kind of wished for a little more rice, but with the bread there was plenty enough starch to go with the meats. Would like to try the mantu next time.
We've swung by here a couple times in the last few weeks, and will chime in that the chapli kebabs are the highlight. I found the lamb kebab overtenderized and mushy, but really enjoy both the chicken and the beef kebabs, with the juicy chicken a close second and the beef rounding out the field.
I think they do a great job on their rice, too - I love the mouthfeel of the individual basmati grains, and they're rich with oil but not so much as to be unpleasantly greasy.
The mantu taste better than they look, with surprisingly thin dumpling skins, but they are a bit unidimensional in flavor and the triple kebab remains the primary draw.
+1 on the chapli kebab. Great combo of flavors, though the saltiness and charring stood out for me more than the spicing.
The Sabzi Challow, spinach dish with lamb shank served with Challow (white rice), is really good. Lamb was tender, and not too fatty or gamey.
They have two condiments. The red one seemed to be generic chili garlic sauce. The green one is a house made mix of cilantro and jalapenos. The latter is the base of a chickpea and dish I'd recommend (it's not listed on their website, but was on the restaurant menu).