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Afghan Restaurant
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    Post #1 - October 31st, 2004, 12:07 am
    Post #1 - October 31st, 2004, 12:07 am Post #1 - October 31st, 2004, 12:07 am
    I'm new to Chicago and this is my first posting. I want to thank all of you for some great recommendations and information. My husband and I had a great first meal at Ed's Potsticker House the other night, armed with notes cribbed from here and Chowhound.

    Wanted to share a good experience at Afghan Restaurant, on Devon, a couple doors down from the Georgian Bakery. I was excited to notice this place on a previous drive down Devon. Afghan, with its mix of Middle-Eastern/Persian, Russian, Indian, and Chinese influences, is one of my favorite cuisines.

    We ordered a bolani (I think I have seen this spelled boulanee elsewhere) appetizer, sabzi chalow and combo kabob entrees.

    Bolani is like Indian stuffed paratha bread, but not whole wheat. The plate includes two half-rounds of bread stuffed with different fillings, served warm and crisp, with a very sour yogurt sauce for dipping. The potato filling was a bit bland, but the spinach-green onion filling was fabulous.

    The entrees came with a basket of bread (similar to Turkish bread, served warm) with very spicy (hot) chutney for dipping, a small iceberg-lettuce-based mixed salad, a bowl of delicious soup (vegetable or lentil--both are very good, but the lentil was better), and abundant (and splendid) Middle-Eastern-style rice pilaf. This is quite a bonus, because--IMO--you hardly ever get enough rice with entrees at Indian and Middle Eastern places.

    Afghan Restaurant's version of sabzi chalow is a mildly spiced, slightly soupy stew of spinach, lamb, and potatoes (mostly spinach) served with rice. I'm used to a thicker preparation, with spinach only, but this sabzi was still flavorful and good. The lamb was tender and a little fatty and the potatoes were a nice addition.

    The kabob combo included chicken, lamb, and keema (spiced ground beef). The chicken was a little dry, but tasted great dipped in the very spicy chutney provided with the bread. The keema and lamb morsels were tender and nicely flavored.

    This meal was enormous and delicious (we were full about halfway through, but could not stop eating), as well as cheap (entrees were $11.95 and $7.95). The surroundings are definitely no-frills (and liquor-free), but this place is definitely worth a visit if Afghani food appeals to you.

    Afghan Restaurant
    2818 W Devon Ave.
    Chicago, IL
    ph. 773/262.8000
    fax 773/262.9607
    Open daily, 11:30a to 10p, except Friday and Saturday, open till 11p.
  • Post #2 - October 31st, 2004, 9:22 am
    Post #2 - October 31st, 2004, 9:22 am Post #2 - October 31st, 2004, 9:22 am
    Hi Deb,

    Welcome to LTH!

    Thanks for the write-up, I wasn't aware there was yet another Afghan restaurant in Chicago. The other is Kabul House with locations in Skokie and Chicago.

    Your first post is a well thought out restaurant recommendation, that's simply marvelous! Every contribution adds to our body of knowledge, which we can all use.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #3 - July 11th, 2005, 8:57 pm
    Post #3 - July 11th, 2005, 8:57 pm Post #3 - July 11th, 2005, 8:57 pm
    debo wrote: This is quite a bonus, because?IMO?you hardly ever get enough rice with entrees at Indian and Middle Eastern places.


    Afghan Restaurant
    2818 W Devon Ave.
    ph. 773/262.8000
    fax 773/262.9607
    Open daily, 11:30a to 10p, except Friday and Saturday, open till 11p.


    Yes. Tons of rice AND bread. Excellent, buttery basmati rice, some colored orange, but mostly white. The VI family paid our first (but not last) visit to this restaurant the other day.

    It is amazingly, a three person operation. We met the owner, Mohamed, who gave us a little history. Seems he bought the place recently from a friend (and then moved to Chicago to run it). Kept the same menu though. His wife knew the recipes, and she does a bit I guess in the background, saucier I s'pose. Otherwise, it's Mohamed and his Mexican chef.

    It's not the kind of food that takes a great deal of activity between order and table. The stews or curries are cooked already; the kababs marinated. It's zip-zap-zooey and most stuff is ready. Also, this is not the kinda place where that much effort is put into sourcing ingredients. Nothing was canned or really cheap, but you could tell their was a certain lack of aliveness to the materials. Yet, this is exactly the kinda food that easily rises above its base. Every time I eat Afghan food (about once every three years) I remark how much I truly love it, and why cannot I do it more often.

    Afghan food combines (I think) the best elements of Middle-Eastern food with Indian/Pakistani food. It is drier or wetter if you know what I mean. Also more complex or more robust if you know what I mean. Still, a couple of key flavors/dishes seem a bit outside the cannon of either. One of my favorite Afghan items is the pumpkin, served in a sauce of tomato, I believe a lot of ghee, yogurt and plenty of cumin. The cumin tomato combination gave it a quite Moroccan flair. The other key dish is the ashok or dumplings filled with scallions and covered in a mild meat sauce. Tons of things happening with each bite. Mohamamed sez that normally they would hand roll the dumplings, but as its him and the cook, well, they find some decent wrappers at the store. But like I say, this is the kinda place that seems to rise above those limitations.

    The good news is that a trip to Afghan Restaurant on Da'Bomb can always be combined with a trip to the Georgian bakery (as if one needs an excuse, :roll: ). The bad news, one can no longer combine a trip to the Afghan Restaurant with a trip to the Turkish store for outstanding olive oil and tiny glasses (and I mean glasses) of tea. Seems the place has moved to East Dundee.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #4 - July 12th, 2005, 9:26 am
    Post #4 - July 12th, 2005, 9:26 am Post #4 - July 12th, 2005, 9:26 am
    I like afghani food (and the food from nearby parts - the NW frontier of Pakistan, Kashmir of course, parts of Iran) quite a bit. Unfortunately I wasn't as impressed with the cooking at Afghan so much (for example, the rice in the kabuli palao wasn't cooked well). A long time ago I posted on it on CH, but can't find that post. They did have more menu offerings then Kabul House but for the items (mainly the drier kababs) that are on the Kabul House menu, I prefer Kabul House (I have only eaten at the Skokie branch, don't know about the Halsted version). For some of the wetter dishes, I prefer versions from some of the nearby countries that are available elsewhere, such as the lamb shank on the menu at noon-o-kabab (though I haven't been since the reports of check please brought on downhill slide).

    Rob, other than the pumpkin and the aushak, what else has stood out for you at afghan?
  • Post #5 - July 12th, 2005, 9:33 am
    Post #5 - July 12th, 2005, 9:33 am Post #5 - July 12th, 2005, 9:33 am
    zim wrote:I like afghani food (and the food from nearby parts - the NW frontier of Pakistan, Kashmir of course, parts of Iran) quite a bit. Unfortunately I wasn't as impressed with the cooking at Afghan so much (for example, the rice in the kabuli palao wasn't cooked well). A long time ago I posted on it on CH, but can't find that post. They did have more menu offerings then Kabul House but for the items (mainly the drier kababs) that are on the Kabul House menu, I prefer Kabul House (I have only eaten at the Skokie branch, don't know about the Halsted version). For some of the wetter dishes, I prefer versions from some of the nearby countries that are available elsewhere, such as the lamb shank on the menu at noon-o-kabab (though I haven't been since the reports of check please brought on downhill slide).

    Rob, other than the pumpkin and the aushak, what else has stood out for you at afghan?


    I liked everything we had. Besides the above, we had the turnovers mentioned in the first post, a chicken curry with yellow split peas (was supposed to be meatballs but there seemed to be a communication error) and plate that was 1/2 chicken cubes and 1/2 ground chicken. The soups and we had both the lentil and vegetable, were also tasty. Like I say, none of the stuff was made with too much effort, but there was enough spark in the recipes to overcome this.

    As I noted, the name and menu are exactly as they have been since inception, but the current management is pretty new, so Zim, perhaps you should try again.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #6 - July 15th, 2005, 3:47 pm
    Post #6 - July 15th, 2005, 3:47 pm Post #6 - July 15th, 2005, 3:47 pm
    Nice to see mention of Afgan restaurant. I live in the neighborhood - about a mile away - and I've eaten there several times now. What I like about the place is that few non Afgans eat there. It's nice to find an ethnic restaurant where the "locals" outnumber us "visitors"! There's an Osco drug store across the street from where you can purchase some beer/wine to drink with dinner. Good restaurant, good food, good service, and very reasonable prices. Devon Ave., what a great street to eat your way through!
  • Post #7 - July 18th, 2005, 3:26 pm
    Post #7 - July 18th, 2005, 3:26 pm Post #7 - July 18th, 2005, 3:26 pm
    Well, I’d been promising Victor wonderful hashbrowns, based on posts hereand there, and finally got him to agree to a big excursion to the Edgebrook Coffee Shop on Saturday. We’re late breakfasters on weekends, so we set out at around one, first waiting about 30 minutes for the Broadway bus north, and then taking the Peterson bus to the end of its route. A young man when we opened the diner door said, “Sorry, we’re closed. We close at 3”—but my watch said it was not yet 2:30!—still, if a place says they’re closed, they’re closed.*

    So there we were, on foot in an unfamiliar neighborhood and starving. A quick walk around didn’t reveal anything promising, so we took the Peterson bus (still sitting at the terminal) back to Western, and headed to Devon. Decided to walk west and go to Bhabi’s Kitchen or Afghan Restaurant, whichever came first. As it turned out, Bhabi’s was east of us, so we ended up at Afghan Restaurant.

    Which was packed when we arrived (at 3 in the afternoon!) with diverse large families and solitary diners chowing down. Glad to see it doing so well!

    We had the mantu appetizer to start. These soft, rather wonton-like pasta dumplings are filled with a spiced beef and onion mixture and covered first with a yogurt sauce and then with mostly mashed chickpeas. Delicious.

    We shared the lamb shank and eggplant entrees. The lamb was fall-apart tender, beautifully done. The eggplant was wonderfully soft and covered with a tomato sauce then a yogurt sauce—there was a lovely tangy sweet-sour thing going on.

    Very happy that others have been enjoying this place. It remains a favorite of ours, although we don’t get there as much as we’d like. Whenever I look at their takeout menu I regret that we don't live nearer Devon--it promises free delivery for >$20 orders up to 3 miles away.

    * I see from a post herethat Edgebrook Coffee Shop is actually open till 3 on weekdays and 2 on weekends. I should've checked before we left on Saturday, but it just didn't occur to me. My bad.
  • Post #8 - January 16th, 2006, 2:46 pm
    Post #8 - January 16th, 2006, 2:46 pm Post #8 - January 16th, 2006, 2:46 pm
    On my walk home after dinner at Khan's BBQ on Devon Ave. late-afternoon yesterday, I walked west and in front of Afghan . . . which is closed. I don't know if the closing is due to a vacation, for illness or something permanent . . . but there's white butcher paper covering the inside of the door and windows, and a small "closed" sign in the window. I peaked through an opening in the paper and the furnishings are in tact.
  • Post #9 - May 10th, 2006, 1:20 pm
    Post #9 - May 10th, 2006, 1:20 pm Post #9 - May 10th, 2006, 1:20 pm
    I am delighted to report that Afghan Restaurant is open again. I asked, and learned they have been open since February, under new management. Same chef, same menu. Had some aushak and rice last night and it was delicious. If you like Afghan or are curious to try it, check this place out.
  • Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 11:45 am
    Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 11:45 am Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 11:45 am
    On a recent trip to Devon I ended a bit west of where the wife and I usually dine so we decided to look for something different. There we saw Afghan Restaurant and decided to give it a try. The owner (Jamal) greeted us with a smile and we decided to put our meal choices in his hands. The food was fantastic. We had some things that were familiar and also a few new items.

    We started with a drink called Dogh, a savory yogurt drink with mint and cucumbers. It was refreshing and salty at the same time.

    Dogh
    Image

    Next came the lentil soup which was served with a homemade, spicy relish. Jamal said to put a bit in the soup to give it a deeper flavor. He was right. It added a bit of spice to the already good soup.

    Lentil Soup
    Image

    For our entree we had Combo 1 (Lamb). It was a mixture of chicken kabobs, lamb kabobs and beef keema. Beef Keema was described as a mixture of ground beef, garlic, onions and other spices. All three had a wonderful flavor. The rice was fluffy and light.

    Combo 1 (Lamb)
    Image

    We paired our dish with Borani Badinjan Chalow, eggplant cooked with tomatoes and spices, topped with a homemade garlic yogurt sauce. Again, another hit. The eggplant was soft and the spices took it to another level. At one point we were full but couldn't stop eating.

    Borani Badinjan Chalow
    Image

    Although we were full, we asked Jamal to bring us something small for dessert. He brought out a type of rice pudding called Firny. It was so light and flavorful. It wasn't too sweet and it had a hint of some sort of spice. I think it was cardamom. A must try.

    Firny
    Image

    It was a good night. The place is not very big but it was only half full. The next time you go to Devon, take a little journey west and visit Jamal at Afghan Restaurant.

    Afghan Restaurant
    2818 W. Devon Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60659
    773-262-8000
    Open 7 days a week
    Sal G
    Chi cerca trova.
  • Post #11 - May 20th, 2007, 2:54 pm
    Post #11 - May 20th, 2007, 2:54 pm Post #11 - May 20th, 2007, 2:54 pm
    Nice pictures. For the sake of search-friendliness, there's also this thread on the restaurant.
  • Post #12 - May 21st, 2007, 8:23 am
    Post #12 - May 21st, 2007, 8:23 am Post #12 - May 21st, 2007, 8:23 am
    Thanks for the tip on that restaurant! I wouldn't have known about this restaurant from the posted thread above since the last post there was over a year ago and I just recently found this site.
  • Post #13 - June 21st, 2007, 9:23 am
    Post #13 - June 21st, 2007, 9:23 am Post #13 - June 21st, 2007, 9:23 am
    A Fine Father's Day Lunch at
    Afghan Restaurant
    افغان رستورنت
    *

    This past Sunday, Amata and Lucantonius offered to take me out for lunch to any place that I might choose. There's a list of places that I've been intending to go to -- some of them have been on that list for far too long -- and one of them was the Afghan Restaurant up on Devon. So then, that's where I wanted to go, in part, because of a long-standing affection for Afghan cuisine (I used to visit the Helmand back in the 1990's) and in part on account of the very positive reports I've heard and seen about the place (AR hereafter), including those above in this thread. In addition to the attractions of AR itself, a trip there would also afford us an opportunity to do a little shopping on Devon, a street which is relatively far from where we live and which we all too seldom get to visit.

    Offered along with the main dishes we ordered are bowls of soup and we tried the two soups on the menu at AR, one a very nice vegetable soup with lots of chunky pieces of carrots, celery, etc...
    Image
    ... and the other a very thick and delicious lentil soup. Along with the soups also comes a little portion of a green chile sauce, to perk them up according to individual tastes. I very much like this sauce, which is not excessively spicy and quite flavourful.
    Image
    As you can see from the above pictures and the following one as well, the old habit of photographing everything has been broken and we dug in without a thought of documenting the meal. Especially irresistable appeared the mantu -- pasta shells filled with spiced ground beef, dressed with chick peas, a tomato sauce and a yogurt/mint sauce as well...
    Image
    They were really quite delicious.
    Another appetizer we ordered were the bolani, mentioned above in this thread, and these were very much to my liking...
    Image
    The one on the upper left is stuffed with mashed potatoes (Lucantonius really liked this one) and the one in the foreground to the right with spinach.
    Image
    Of the two main dishes we ordered, one was the 'Lamb Combo', mentioned and illustrated above by Terrasini, which comes with three kinds of grilled meat -- spiced ground beef, chunks of chicken and chunks of lamb, all this accompanied by a generous portion of basmati (and a simple salad plate on the side).
    Image
    All three of the meats were delicious in my opinion and the lamb, with a little bit of chew to it (which I didn't mind in the least), was especially flavourful. The rice was also very nice and Lucantonius, who has become something of a rice-addict and especially fond of basmati, apparently was mightily pleased with what we were served, for he ate an astounding amount thereof.
    My favourite item of all was the second main dish we ordered, the kofta chalow, beef meatballs in a thick tomato sauce containing split peas, with rice and salad served separately.
    Image
    The meatballs themselves were nicely delicate in texture and very savoury and the tomato sauce was really quite delicious. I used much of it to dress some of the rice and that was a great combination. I was really taken with this particular version of a dish I know and love from previous restaurant experiences.
    In addition to enjoying the food, we also very much enjoyed the atmosphere of the Afghan Restaurant and had a great time chatting with the owner, JT, a.k.a Jamal, who was serving us. The other patrons were all there as family groups and it seemed to me that each of the groups was having a fine time.
    Image
    I only have one experience so far from which to judge, but on the basis of our visit last Sunday and from what I've heard others say and seen others write (above), I'd say that this a fine neighbourhood restaurant and one to which I intend to return soon.

    ***

    AR, as VI mentions above, is steps away from the Georgian Bakery, one of our regular stops whenever we're on Devon. We went there after our meal and picked up some bread, some dumplings and some savoury pastries. Great stuff. We also visited another place we've long liked on Devon, Ted's market, for a few vegetables and odd packaged goods.

    A really fine Father's Day outing.
    Mille grazie alla mia carissima moglie e pure al mio bellissimo figlio.

    Antonius

    *If you have just a series of green boxes here, that's because the Arabic script version of the restaurant's name, as it appears on their menu, isn't showing up on your computer. It is showing up on mine (not surprisingly, since 'twas I who typed it in) and even has the proper ligatures.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #14 - July 28th, 2007, 11:57 am
    Post #14 - July 28th, 2007, 11:57 am Post #14 - July 28th, 2007, 11:57 am
    Over the past few weeks I've enjoyed two different meals at Afghan Restaurant and I've been fortunate to have now eaten most of their vast menu.

    I have long been a fan of Kabul House on Dempster in Skokie which has been my only prior exposure to Afghani food. As VI mentioned above, this cuisine resembles both Middle-Eastern and Indian and Pakistani foods: The simple, grilled meats of the Middle East meet the fragrant, aromatic spices of the Asian sub-continent.

    There is a lot to enjoy at Afghan Restaurant, particularly among the appetizers and sides. I cannot add much to this thread beyond a song of praise for the bolani (stuffed pancakes), mantu (dumplings), borrani badinjan chalow (stewed eggplant), lentil soup, kofta chalow (meatballs). Each of these items is very good and it's woth making a meal of a large appetizer spread at this restaurant.

    The items I've tasted that have not been mentioned before were the kabuli palow and the homemade yogurt. The kabuli palow is a tender lamb shank served with rice, raisins and carrots. It was nice but not as well-seasoned as most of the other meat preparations I've had there. The homemade yogurt is a favorite of mine. It's bright and tangy and complements their grilled kebabs very well.

    I'm surprised it has taken me this long to visit Afghan Restaurant, but I'm pleased that I finally did. The owners are friendly and pleasant, the food is good, and the price is right. It's the kind of place that any enthusiastic LTHer should try.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #15 - July 28th, 2007, 1:08 pm
    Post #15 - July 28th, 2007, 1:08 pm Post #15 - July 28th, 2007, 1:08 pm
    The qabili palau at Afghan Restaurant is different from others I've tried in that instead of chunks of stewed lamb you get one gargantuan shank. The upside is that the lamb is amazingly tender; the downside, as eatchicago mentioned, is that the meat is a tad on the bland side. If you're willing to give up some tenderness for flavor, you may prefer Kabul House's version.

    Afghan Restaurant also makes a nice kadu bouranee (Kabul House's, while tasty, is more of a puree).

    Another difference is that you typically do not get nan at AR (although it does come with some appetizers).

    And I agree that the owners are extremely nice.
  • Post #16 - July 8th, 2008, 9:20 pm
    Post #16 - July 8th, 2008, 9:20 pm Post #16 - July 8th, 2008, 9:20 pm
    eatchicago wrote:There is a lot to enjoy at Afghan Restaurant, particularly among the appetizers and sides. I cannot add much to this thread beyond a song of praise for the bolani (stuffed pancakes), mantu (dumplings), borrani badinjan chalow (stewed eggplant), lentil soup, kofta chalow (meatballs). Each of these items is very good and it's woth making a meal of a large appetizer spread at this restaurant.


    This is as good a place as any to post this vivid, informative and delicious-sounding account of a feast accompanying the Hidden Afghanistan exhibit currently at the National Gallery. It makes me wish that the traveling exhibition would stop in Chicago.

    Included is a recipe for borrani banjan from the chef at the Afghan embassy.

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