Chicken kebab; photo by Breonca Trofort
In the last 10 years, the local restaurant scene has taken on a much more international flavor. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Afghan Restaurant & Grocery along West Broad Street at Tuckernuck Square Shopping Center. The history of Afghanistan, its geographical position in the world and its culture are all beautifully reflected in the food served here. Some dishes may look vaguely familiar, but the flavors and textures are all their own. This restaurant follows halal dietary guidelines, so there is no pork, and the ingredients are all fresh.
At $7.99, their lunch buffet just might be the best deal in town. It changes daily, but you can always count on wonderful rice, a fascinating spiced chicken, some beautifully flavored vegetables and, if you are lucky, more than one kind of bread. On our first visit, we sampled some grilled bread stuffed with onions, garlic and other seasonings that was so good my friend said she could have made an entire meal out of it. On the second visit, a wonderful serving of spiced cauliflower and a chicken kebab were perfect.
The food of Afghanistan is flavorful without being overly spicy. The rice was nicely seasoned, and contained toasted pieces of pasta. The yellow lentils looked as if they might have been Indian, but the spicing was uniquely Afghan, with distinct, complex flavors. If you're craving a great lamb kebab, or a delightful rice dish, a menu is available in addition to the buffet.
There is an adjoining grocery store, and the restaurant offers catering and take-out. It might be fun to place a to-go order for your office, and see if anyone can guess where this multifaceted cuisine originated. It's worth a visit to try something new and welcome this addition to our international restaurant scene.
Afghan Restaurant and Grocery
9018 W. Broad St., 968-4642
Prices: Most entrées are less than $10.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.