Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Naan for Thought

My first experience with Naan was at Indian Restaurants, and I have a hard time thinking of it as anything but Indian. But the more I go to the Afghan Restaurant (the no frills name matches the prices) the more I want to rethink my approach. The Naan, made on a clay oven on-site, has to be the best in the area. The yogurt sauce is the perfect combination of tart and texture - I need to keep myself from putting it on everything. I am fully content before the meal starts. The wait staff is very patient (and non-judgemental: on one ocassion, we ordered every appetizer on the menu) and are happy to help the non-initiated, as well as the patrons who take the wrong entrance and crash the wedding in adjacent banquet hall. My favorite appetizers are the Aushak and mantu, or Afghan pastas. The mantu is reminiscent of perogi and should not be missed, while the Boolawnee is a baked naan stuffed with potatoes and leeks.

The jumbo kebab is ideal for splitting between three people who've had a first round of appetizers. It features 2 lamb kebab, 2 beef kebab and 2 chicken kebab served on top of naan. I usually order a side order of rice, garnished with julienne carrots and raisins. The chicken kebab will put any tandoori to shame. The wait staff will also look the other way while you and your friends bicker over the soggy central portion of the naan.

The restaurant isn't near a metro stop, but it is a straight shot down Route 1, even with less than inspired surroundings, well worth the trip.

The Afghan Restaurant
2700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Alexandria, VA 22301-1026
Afghan on Urbanspoon

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