Cheap Eats 2011: Afghan Famous Kabob

This Afghan cafe offers a warm welcome with its yellow-painted walls and philodendron and ivy trailing from hanging pots. Shakers of sumac sit on each table, waiting to be sprinkled onto skillfully cooked plates of halal kebabs. Reliable starters include aushak, leek-filled ravioli smothered in meat sauce and yogurt, and bouranee baunjaun–eggplant stewed with leeks and garlic. A ground-beef kebab was well seasoned but a bit dry; the flavor-packed bone-in chicken and lamb kebabs are much better choices. Qabili palow, a mound of rice, raisins, and shredded carrots atop cubes of lamb, lacks the cloying sweetness found in many other versions. Sides of lamb with stewed lentils and a rich chickpea-and-onion stew round out these hearty meals.

Also good: Potato-filled pastry called bulanee; sambosa goshtee, fried pockets of spiced beef; seasoned rice; lamb chops.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.