A Delightful Little Piece of Afghanistan in West Hartford

The first week and a half we were in Connecticut (as well as the time we spent in Miami), we ate out at restaurants a lot. So much that, by the time we got back from Miami, we didn’t want to see the inside of another restaurant–no matter how good–for quite some time. Fortunately we’ve been able to cook a bit in our hotel room and Matt’s family has kindly invited us over for a couple of homemade meals.

That said, one of the best restaurant meals I’ve had since I got to Connecticut was at the Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan in West Hartford. The Friday before we left for Miami, Matt and I met his sister and her husband there for dinner.

Matt and I got there a little early to get a pre-dinner cocktail. It was a chilly, breezy evening, but the cozy, inviting atmosphere in the restaurant warmed us up as soon as we walked in the door. We sat at the bar, giving us sightline to the hostess stand so we could see when our dinner mates arrived.

After looking over the extensive beer, wine and specialty cocktails menu, I settled on a Green Tea Martini (Skyy Infused Citrus Zen Green Tea Liquor, green tea and fresh lemon juice) and Matt got a Black Hog Brewery Granola Brown Ale. I’m not a big fan of super sweet drinks, so my martini was perfect! The green tea had just a kick of caffeine, giving me the little perk I needed, and the lemon juice provided a refreshing burst of citrus.

The bartender also gave me a little taste of The Girl Next Door, which is a cocktail featuring Gin and blackberries. The sweet/sour/piney flavor made me think of a summer picnic in a pine forest.


Once Matt’s sister and her husband arrived, we were seated. Our waitress was friendly and attentive, setting a good tone right off the bat. She brought some Noni Afghani (Afghan flat bread) and butter to the table to munch on while we looked at the menu. There were so many options, each sounding better than the next, that we opted for the family style dinner so we could try a variety of the dishes.

Noni Afghani

Our first course was a plate of Samosas (fried noodles filled with spiced peas, potatoes and vegetables), Pakawra (the texture is that of a large, flat, battered potato wedge and the seasoning is delightfully savory), Mantoo (steamed dumplings filled with spiced meat and onions) and Chicken Shammi Kebab (spiced, charbroiled ground chicken bites). There was enough for each of us to try one of each of the items.

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I could have walked away at that point completely full and satisfied, but we were just getting started. As soon as the appetizers were cleared, our server began bringing out dish after dish after dish of our main course. I’ll let the following pictures do the talking.

Brony Bonjan (steamed and fried slices of eggplant topped with tomato sauce, homemade yogurt and dry mint)
Kabuli Palow (brown rice smothered with seasoned raisins, almonds and cardamom-flavored carrots)
Sabzi Palow (savory basmati rice with spinach)
Kadu (a delightfully sweet and spicy pumpkin puree)
Kormay Kachaloo (potatoes sautéed with onion, tomato sauce and spices)
Sautéed Mushrooms
Ashak (boiled dumplings stuffed with spinach and scallions and topped with spicy beef, yellow peas and homemade yogurt)
Beef, Chicken, Lamb and Salmon Kebabs (all marinated and grilled to perfection)

We had plenty of leftovers, but Matt and I insisted his sister and her husband take what they wanted since we were going to be headed out of town before we could eat any of it. We left happy and full from good food and great company.

If you’re in the West Hartford area and are looking for a fun and delicious night out, I definitely recommend checking out the Shish Kebab House.

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