January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants
A hidden Bethesda gem.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published January 24, 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 PM to 9:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM, and Sunday 5 PM to 9:30 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Kid Friendly: Yes
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.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Good for Groups

No. 75: Faryab

At its best, Afghan cooking is a homey cuisine. Those encountering it for the first time are often surprised to find that behind such transporting titles as mantu, badenjan, and aushak lurk such humble, comforting fare—meat sauces, dumplings, and hearty soups and stews.

Balancing the exotic and the familiar has long distinguished this Bethesda restaurant, where even the dining room has the allure of a distant hideaway. The menu isn’t the most extensive for Afghan in the area, and it can feel duplicative, with multiple variations on a single theme, but the cooking manages the trick of being both stick-to-your-ribs and assured. The aushak —delicate, scallion-filled sheets of pasta covered in a zesty tomato-and-meat sauce and dollops of minted yogurt—is marvelous. Chalow kadu, a pot of lightly sweetened pumpkin swirled with yogurt, is as rich and complex as a meat stew. Ausk is a robust vegetable-noodle soup—pure comfort on a cold, raw night. The lamb, chicken, and shrimp kebabs are all fine, if seldom rising to the level of the stews.

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Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 01/24/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews