What’s good for an affordable date night? This svelte, candlelit Afghan bistro. Chef/matriarch Shamim Popal’s roots spread from Germany to Afghanistan to DC—fitting for the international crowd that cozies up to wooden tables for tender leek dumplings, stuffed flatbreads, and sumac-spiced meats. She defies preconceptions about her native cuisine—that it’s heavy and meaty—and offers several lovingly prepared vegetable and grain dishes (baked eggplant with minty yogurt, velvety spinach sabzi). Head to the sultry subterranean Darbar for cardamom-spiced Manhattans and live music on weekends. Moderate.