Afghan cuisine, typically rich with meats and yogurt sauces, is served with a surprisingly delicate touch at this spare strip-mall cafe. The fried beef-filled pastries called sambosas emerge with a wonton-like lightness and a dusting of dried mint, while eggplant borani has an elegant, silky texture beneath its cloak of garlicky yogurt. Even the hearty qabili palow conveys a softness, with tender hunks of lamb buried in a heap of rice, sweet carrots, and raisins. A few caveats: Though the place’s name emphasizes kebabs, an herb-and-onion-studded ground-beef skewer is the sole star of that otherwise standard lineup. And if lingering in a dim room outfitted only with a TV and a fish tank isn’t appealing, know that most dishes travel well. That’s not to say the welcome isn’t warm—complimentary green tea accompanies the meal, along with bowls of citrusy cilantro sauce and made-to-order rounds of pillowy naan.
Where you can get it: 514 Van Dorn St., Alexandria; 703-751-1833
Also good: Aushak, leek dumplings topped with yogurt and ground beef; dal chalou, a garlicky lentil curry; baklava.