Faryab Afghan Restaurant
This Afghan dining room is a hidden gem.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published October 13, 2006
Cheap Eats (2009) 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Address: 4917 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-951-3484
Neighborhood: Bethesda/Glen Echo
Cuisines: Middle Eastern, Afghan
Opening Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 5 to 9:30, Friday and Saturday 5 to 10:30, and Sunday 5 to 9:30.
Nearby Metro Stops: Bethesda
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Pastries such as bulanee (with leeks) and sambosa (with meat and chickpeas); open-faced dumplings known as mantu (with meat) and aushak (with scallions); quabili pallow, brown basmati rice with carrots, raisins, and braised lamb; stewed pumpkin with yogur
Price Details: Starters around $6; entrées $12.50 to $18.95.

June 2006 Cheap Eats

Hidden among flashier neighbors on a stretch littered with noisy cafes and bars, this Afghan place has quietly become one of Bethesda's best restaurants by turning out cooking that makes no compromises yet still manages to feel familiar.

The stars of the small menu are aushak and mantu--large, thin squares of pasta stuffed with scallions or meat and blanketed with tomato and yogurt. Seldom do you find such big, intense flavors for so little cash. Almost as good are a garlicky lamb-and-spinach stew and a rice dish, quabili pallow, studded with raisins, shredded carrots, and hunks of lamb.

Except for the cumin-scented kofta, kebabs are probably best bypassed. Look instead to a couple of extraordinary vegetable dishes. Kadu is a melange of sweet pumpkin, tart yogurt, and acidic tomato, while badenjan tempers the pungency of eggplant into a smoky forkful. Order one of the huge coiled ovals of just-baked bread--they're good enough to tempt even a die-hard low-carber.

The waitstaff can be friendly or taciturn--details beyond the menu description of a dish are hard to come by. Still, Faryab is a gem in a downtown where inexpensive ethnic restaurants are fast disappearing.
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Posted at 05:33 PM/ET, 10/13/2006 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews