A few of my coworkers and I hosted an Afghan colleague from a Fort McMurray office two weeks ago, and we thought it was an appropriate occasion to try out a new Afghan restaurant within walking distance of our building.
Afghan Chopan Kebab House
Afghan Chopan Kebab House (10756 101 Street) opened up a few weeks ago on 101 Street next to Padmanadi. Although it is located on a major thoroughfare, it is inset on the street and thus easy to miss, which partly explained how quiet the restaurant was that Tuesday afternoon.
The décor was dated but clean, and brightened up by the ample natural light in the space. There is a large take-out counter, but plenty of eat-in space as well. We seated ourselves in a booth next to a window.
Service was surprisingly slow, especially given we were the only party in the restaurant (our request for waters was fulfilled about halfway through our meal). We were provided menus, but when we tried to order off of them, were encouraged to eat from the $9.99 per person buffet instead. The server indicated that the dishes served would be the same – namely, kebabs.
Although there were a number of buffet selections, that wasn’t actually the case – there wasn’t a kebab in sight! That said, there were a nice mix of vegetarian and meat dishes, including some pulse-based stews, pasta, shredded chicken curry and clove-scented rice. Dessert options included rice pudding and fruit.
Savoury buffet options
There’s no doubt that the buffet was value-driven, but the dishes were a mixed bag. The chickpea and bean stew and pasta (sampled on the second go-around) were the best of the lot, prepared and seasoned well. The lentil dish was noticeably undercooked, and perhaps worst of all, the chicken curry was strewn with tiny bone fragments – not appealing to eat at all. We fared better with dessert; the rice pudding had a nice rounded flavour and good texture. For the record, our Afghan colleague enjoyed the food, but noted that he was likely biased, given his homesickness for this cuisine narrowed his judgment.
My first plate
We all agreed, however, that their naan, delivered to our table freshly baked and imbued the unmistakable smokiness from a Tandoori oven, was some of the best we’d tasted in the city. Fluffy and light, it was delicious, even without any drizzle of oil or butter. The bread alone would be worth returning for.
Given Afghan Chopan Kebab House is a small, family-run business, I would hope it does well, particularly in light of the dearth of restaurants specializing in Afghani cuisine in Edmonton. Still, to foster repeat business, they have some kinks to work out with regards to service and consistency.
Afghan Chopan Kebabhouse
10756 101 Street
8 thoughts on “Not Quite There Yet: Afghan Chopan Kebab House”
I can see what you’re saying about the bone… being that we’re accustomed to boneless meat of all varieties in North America. That being said, the majority of the rest of the world utilizes all parts of the animal and it is not uncommon in Vietnamese, Indian, Hong Kong or Middle Eastern Cuisine to find a bone or two that you may not recognize. We’re simply not used to picking such things out… I often gather from smaller family run establishments that they don’t even know that Westerners prefer boneless.
I think what she means is that there were little tiny pieces of fragmented bone, not bones that are easily seen and avoided when eating. I can imagine biting down on a little chunk of bone would be pretty unpleasant!
oooh the bread. loved the bread in Afghanistan!! How were the levels of oil in the food?
doesn’t matter if they’re “easily seen” or not. Linds is saying that a lot of places *typically* have bone fragments that aren’t “easily seen”, which I believe… I have enough time picking out bone fragments from soupy Chinese dishes!
at a $9.99, i’ll take it! i go past this place every day on my work commute and i’m glad you reviewed it, sharon.
Yes, they were tiny bone fragments, not the easily distinguishable “meat on bone” types.
There may be some diners like you, guest, who doesn’t mind picking them out of your food, but I have to say I’m not one of them.
The bread is so worth going for! And the levels of oil were fine, actually, not noticeably greasy at all.
The decorations are ok, the service is uninspired (to put it mildly), the buffet is simple & tasty, but the kebabs are the real deal! Never tasted such good kebabs anywhere in Alberta– they are simply great. Definitely a great addition to Central Edmonton and hope to see them thrive and improve in the future.
yes – I was referring to bones of all sorts. In Vietnam sometimes you see them just hacking at a cooked chicken with a butcher knife, and then using the side of the knife to flip a portion of chicken into your bowl of pho! wee bones and pieces and all.
I’m not big on bones either by the way… just think it’s really interesting. I honestly bet that they don’t even know culturally about the bone issue. They probably cook that way all the time, and don’t think twice!
It’s sort of a hard thing to approach though…do you tell them? Would they change their way of cooking? Debatable.