Omar Masroor once paid the bills by working at a car dealership. So how did a guy with zero restaurant experience open one of the area’s best Afghan spots? Credit goes to the kind host—that’s Masroor helping elderly customers up from their chairs—and to his family. The Kabul native’s recipes, passed down through three generations, are recreated here by his wife and, at times, one of his daughters. Start with a sampler—the cold version includes a lush eggplant purée spiked with jalapeños, while the warm platter centers around mantu, excellent freeform ravioli stuffed with zesty beef or leeks. Marinated kebabs are a sure bet, as are many stews listed among the chalkboard specials. Don’t overlook the house-made chutneys—especially the avocado-and-cilantro version—which brighten everything beautifully. Inexpensive.
Also great: Bouranee (butternut-squash purée); lentil soup; chicken lawaan (a cilantro-and-yogurt stew); lamb-shank moghuli; lamb or chicken karahi; cardamom ice cream.