Restaurant Review: Helmand
Ann Marie Brokmeier
As much of a foodie that I am, I surprisingly usually stick with American-style food. For instance, I can tell you where the creamiest mac & cheese or the most flavorful veggie burger is in the city, but that is pretty much it. Over Restaurant Week, I ventured out to Helmand with some friends and was completely blown away. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from Afghan food; I didn’t even really know what it consisted of, other than naan (although, warm bread is always a good start). We shared two appetizers as a table and then each ordered our own entrees. Luckily, almost every entrée we ordered was vegetarian so I was able to try a lot of different meals.
The appetizers that we started out with were the Kaddo Borawni and the Vegetarian Aushak. The Kaddo Borawni, I’ve been told, is what they are known for, and I can totally see why. It is cooked, sweet baby pumpkin, over yogurt-mint sauce. I am not normally a huge pumpkin eater, but this was impeccable. It was sweet and soft and not at all pungent or too pumpkin-y for me. I could eat plates and plates of it! The Vegetarian Aushak (which also comes as a Beef Aushak) is very soft leek ravioli in the same yogurt-mint sauce. These were extremely savory and really balanced out the sweetness of the pumpkin appetizer.
For the entrée, I ordered Vegetarian Mantwo, which was onion, potato, and leek stuffed into a homemade pastry shell. It was savory and flavorful. The yogurt sauce added a sweetness and I ate the entire plate, even though I was already full. I was able to sample a bite of the Vegetarian Platter (spiced veggies on pallow) and the Vegetarian Dolma (spinach-stuffed eggplant; need I say more?).
I was surprised and thoroughly pleased with my experience at Helmand, and really enjoyed that there were so many meatless options for me to choose from. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. In fact, go ahead and make a reservation today by calling (410)752-0311 or on OpenTable.
The Helmand is located at 806 N. Charles Street, and is open for dinner seven days a week.
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