Bamiyan Brings a Taste of Afghanistan to Kips Bay
Every Friday our man UltraClay goes south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
Afghan food is one of the many underrepresented cuisines of Midtown and Flatiron or around the rest of New York as far as I’ve seen. There are two pretty well known places on 9th Ave. in the 50s (Afghan Kebab House and Ariana Afghan) but that’s a bit of a hike for those of us who work in the southern reaches of Midtown. So, when someone told me about Bamiyan, on 3rd and 26th street, it went straight onto my to do list.
Earlier this week, a friend and I met up for lunch to check it out.
My friend grew up in the neighborhood and remembers Bamiyan as far back as maybe 15 years ago. Based on the sparse crowd at lunch, I’d guess they get more business in the evenings. That’s good as far as I’m concerned, it gives a quiet, relaxed place to have lunch without the bustle of so many other places.
They’ve got a $9.95 lunch menu with 16 options, all of which come with a salad and bread. There’s also a $21.95 lunch special for two that includes two entrees from the list and one starter of beef, pumpkin or potato.
The salad didn’t look to be anything special, but the dressing on it was yogurt and a tangy red sauce that was good enough to get me to clean my plate – and then sop up the rest with the bread.
My buddy ordered the mantoo. If that sounds familiar, it’s because I’d had ‘manti’ at Turkish Kitchen, just a couple blocks to the north. There, manti was more of a soup or appetizer, and the beef-filled dumplings were pretty tiny. As you can see the mantoo at Bamiyan is a more grown-up portion.
Just like the manti, the beef wasn’t as prominent as the dumpling skin and the yogurt sauce/dressing that it was draped in.
I went with my go to order (the same thing I ordered at Turkish Kitchen) the beef kababs, which were soft and moist in the center and crisped with a slight char on the outside.
The rest of the menu featured a number of chicken and vegetarian dishes. There was one with shrimp, but last I checked Afghanistan was landlocked- so I’m guessing that isn’t as authentic. Much like Turkish Kitchen, Bamiyan offers a comfortable, even civilized lunch option that I certainly appreciate. They also serve good portions of tasty middle eastern and subcontinental food that goes beyond the halal carts and buffets that tend to get more of our lunch attention.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Very good Afghani food, which seems a lot like a mix of Turkish food and Indian food.
- It’s a good quiet spot to get away from the lunch rush.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I can get a lot of the same food at Turkish Kitchen for the same price and they’re fancier.
- Peaceful is one thing, but this place is sort of dead.
Bamiyan, 358 3rd Ave (btw. 26+27th), 212-481-3232