Well Dined

16Jan/110

Faryab Afghan (92/100, 2010)

Faryab is a tiny place that is easily missed - tucked in beside a cigar shop in the Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda. It doesn't even have a website (though I've found a link to the menu, below). But this is a gem you will want to remember. The dining room is surprisingly sophisticated with touches of exotic artwork. The patrons are a mix of all types: families, older couples, young friends. I had never had Afghan food before, and I found it to be similar to both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.

I ordered the mantu - tender steamed dumplings filled with spiced beef and topped with yogurt and tangy tomato. The entree came with a side salad - your standard iceberg and shredded carrot affair, made special by a tangy yogurt dressing. We ordered some sides to share: kabu - tender sweet pumpkin with yogurt, and buranee bademjan - smokey eggplant with yogurt and tomato. My companion, who is a vegan, had no problems ordering and the server even suggested an alternative dressing so that she could have a side salad. For dessert, she ordered a baklava that was excellent - not too sweet or dry, with just a touch of honey. We agreed that it was one of the better baklava either of us had tried. I ordered the rice pudding, which was sweet and creamy, topped with pistachios, and had a hint of rose water. I also had the Afghan tea, which was flavored with flowery cardamom. I have read indifferent reviews in terms of service, but our server was very friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic.

I was very impressed and plan to return in the future to try the aushak (dumplings similar to the mantu, but filled with scallions) and the lamb with onion and spinach, both of which I have heard good things about.

Faryab Menu

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