Cheap Eats 2007: Faryab
Comments () | Published July 12, 2007
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.
White walls, framed photos, and textiles from the Afghan desert give this sliver of a restaurant a vibe that’s more gallery than eatery. There’s a hushed quality to the dining room, as if in protest against the noise that plagues so many Bethesda eateries.

Against this almost austere backdrop is cuisine vibrant enough to seduce, even if the small menu rarely changes. The temptation at many Middle Eastern restaurants is to stick to kebabs. But while Faryab’s skewered lamb is rosy and tender, there are other pleasures. Dumplings filled with seasoned ground beef (mantu) or scallions (aushak) and blanketed with meat sauce and yogurt are delicious, the noodles delicate, the fillings robust and savory.

Badenjan goushti is a casserole of braised lamb baked with eggplant, onions, and tomato to create a delicious whole. Round out the meal with quabili palow —basmati rice strewn with morsels of lamb, raisins, and shreds of carrot—and stewed pumpkin, the sweetness tempered by a tart dollop of yogurt and a swath of tomato sauce.

For dessert, the enormous sugar-dusted fried cracker called “elephant ear” really looks like one—and tastes divine.

Open nightly except Monday for dinner.
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Posted at 01:45 PM/ET, 07/12/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews