April 2000: Afghan Restaurant

By: Cynthia Hacinli

The white stucco building doesn't have much come-hither power, but the set inside is festive: Afghan families drinking chai and tearing off hunks of the nan, an oval-shape flatbread baked in a clay oven until golden. Ground lamb and garlicky lamb-rib kebabs may be the building blocks of Afghan cuisine, but there are other diversions. Mantu, Afghanistan's retort to ravioli, is scrumptious with its meat filling, as is a variation with scallions. Other high points are savory pastries filled with leeks and potato and any of the vegetable dishes, from sautéed pumpkin to fried spinach and eggplant.

Afghan Restaurant, 2700 Jefferson Davis Hwy.; 703-548-0022. Open daily for lunch and dinner.