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Tue, Mar 23 2004 at 02:31 AM

Afghan Grill

Posted by Jason, Mar 23, 2004

There are very few people I know that have actually tried Afghan food. I always tell people about Afghan Grill and the look at me like I was crazy. They have either never heard of it or they can't comprehend what Afghan food is like. We're not ones to talk -- Amy and I have only been eating Afghan food for a couple years now.

Immediately after 9/11, I noticed the Afghan restaurant I was passing on the way to work everyday was practically empty all the time. I figured it was most likely because of a backlash against Afghan businesses. We had not read much about Afghan Grill, but we decided to try it out and see what Afghan food was like. Here's what we found.

Afghan Grill is located very close to the corner of Calvert and Connecticut on the side of the bridge that takes you over to Adams Morgan. Do to how dark it was, I was not able to get a great picture of the outside, but you kind of get the idea.
Front.jpg
Entry.jpg

Inside, there are not many tables. It is small and there is barely an entrance. The lighting is low and it is pretty quiet. There is rarely a wait for a table and if you do wait, it won't be for more than 10 minutes. In the picture below, Amy and I were sitting at the far end of the restaurant by the window.
Restaurant.jpg

Now onto the food. Afghan food is a lot like a combination of Indian, Mediterranian and Turkish food, which is pretty much what you would expect from the area of the world it is located. You definitely see the influence from the surrounding areas on the food with lots of kabobs, curries, lamb and chicken. What turned out to be our favorite dish, however, surprised me a lot - pumpkin. Aghan Grill calls it Kadu Buranee. The chef sautees pumpkin for about 30 minutes. On top of it they pour a garlic yogurt sauce and a meat sauce. The result is an interesting combination of flavors that I have never witnessed elsewhere. Afghan Grill will often run out of the pumpkin. One time, we were the last to get it, much to others dismay. Our other favorite is the chicken kabob. Too bad the pictures I took don't really show much of a difference between the two dishes. Honestly, the dishes look mush more appetizing in person ;). 

Everything is super seasoned, right down to the rice which all dishes come with a helpful portion of. If you have some left at the end, you'll want to finish it, even if don't have anything to eat with it.

The wine list is reasonable in accordance to my standards. The average price of a bottle of wine is about $25. As far as desserts go, we haven't ever had any room to try them. The service is very friendly and we've not once had a problem. Dress is casual. Our average bill is about $60-70 which is very reasonable for the quality of food ou find here.

So make sure you go to Afghan Grill and let us know what you think.

Afghan Grill
2309 Calvert Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 234-5095
Map

www.afghangrill.com

Categories: Adams Morgan, Afghan, Restaurant Reviews
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beth b.

this is my favorite restaurant by far in DC. It use to be called 'the khyber pass' and had benches along the walls and flocked wallpaper and i kinda miss it. but it's chic overhaul isn't bad.
i found your review of the afghan place in bethesda. i'll be sure to check that out. thanks!!!!

Philippa

Since you posted this I think the restaurant has become a lot more popular. We tried to get a table last Friday night (late October) without a reservation and were turned away. I would strongly advise booking on Friday and Saturday nights

swetha

I went there last night with my fiancee, and his family so 5 of us. Having booked a table for 8pm we arrived with no tables free. Only had to wait about 15 mins but still. The manager was obviously stressed out and kept telling us 5mins. We sat down to a table with no cutlery/settings, then didnt receive drinks for about 35mins having asked about 4-5 times. my understanding is that there is new management and to be honest although the food was exceptionally good-we didnt get it for 1hr and 30mins or more. I noticed many other people in the restaurant were very angry too, as most of them received the wrong order at least once if not twice. All in all-great food but really poor service a shame after reading such good things about the restaurant. They need to sort themselves out if they dont want to lose the business.

Jay Ambrose

In D.C. recently for a conference. Stayed at the Omni, which is walking distance to the Afghan Grill. Food and service was excellent. Sample platter was a good way to try different appetizers. Portions were immense - two people could easily share one entree. The food was very authentic and reminded us very much of North Indian Mughal cuisine. Wine choices by the glass were reasonable and desert terrific. We had Firni - a coconut and pistachio based custard. Topped it off with Turkish coffee. Would definately go again.

Matt

This place is great; the wait was a little long and the place a little small, so an expansion is a must. Once we got in, the service was friendly but erratic. Still, can't complain at all about the food or the prices. Some of the best lamb I've tasted. And since the owner is very nice, its definitely worth your time to check out. Watch out for crowds on weekends.

Julie

After our very mediocre meal (unfortunately) we spotted a roach on the wall next to our table and another one in the bathroom upstairs.

Apart from that, I was very disappointed with the food here. I've eaten at many, many Afghan restaurants, and this is sub-par. The Aushak was pretty good but the Mantu tasted heavy and chewy, like a soft hockey puck. The portions of the entrees were not generous, and it seemed like the giant servings of rice were intended to mask the dearth of main ingredients.

Finally, the service was very friendly, but confusing and poor. We ordered drinks, then 15 minutes later, the waiter shows up and asks us if we want to order our food. We again asked for our drinks, then 5 minutes later, he arrives again drinkless and asks us if we're ready to order. The whole night was like that. No serving spoons showed up with dishes we had asked to share, and when we asked for plates, he brought us 3 bread plates for our dinner. It became a comedy because we were in a good mood, but gimme a break.

It was the worst service I've had since I don't know when.

MT

I'm married to an Afghan-American so I love the food and its unfortunate that so many are still prejudiced against the Afghan people that they are reluctant to try thier cuisine. The Afghans are a very generous and kind people who have suffered over 30 years of war and take great pride in their culture. Afghans don't eat at Afghan Grille by the way....the food there is blah at best. Most head to Maizbon in Alexandria (upscale will blow your mind if you like Afghan food) and Bamiyan in Falls Church (also fancy) and even Afghan Restaurant in Alexandria (more hole in the wall but good) -all require a car. You'll like those places much better :).

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