Monday, May 18, 2009

Maiwand Kabob in Columbia (and elsewhere)

Maiwand Kabob is one of my old favorites, but it has a beautiful new look at its flagship location in Columbia.

The Afghan restaurant sells kabobs and a concise menu of some of Howard County's best food for a large takeout crowd and a small dining room. The Harper's Choice village center has always been a great place for a summer night -- delicious food, then Italian ice at Rita's across the parking lot. But it was a pretty low-end design with paper plates and basic decor.

Now, Maiwand Kabob has been renovated with trendy earth tones. Wood details. New tables and chairs. A cool open kitchen. It is honestly a surprise that they invested so much without the opportunity to expand.

Despite the flash, the food remains the real attraction. The main dishes are grilled meats -- beef, lamb, chicken chunks, chicken versions of a gyro -- and daily specials that offer tastes of Afghan cuisine. The grilled chicken holds its own with the best barbeque around like Kloby's in Laurel. But Maiwand Kabob becomes a great restaurant -- and not just a takeout joint -- because of the appetizers and the bread that deliver delicate flavors that are unique, yet accessible to anyone who likes Indian or Middle Eastern food.

The pumpkin is tender orange flesh served with yogurt and a sprinkle of ground beef. The aushak are ravioli filled with scallions and topped similar to the pumpkin. You can work your way through samosas, bowlawni and any of the other appetizers, and you need to try the tandoori bread. Those crisp and warm loaves are worth the entire visit. Consider ordering an extra if you plan on having leftovers. You can watch them being shaped and baked right behind the counter.

(Update: Also check out the mantwo -- another appetizer where the meat-filled dumplings come with a yogurt sauce spiked with mint and topped with earthly lentils.)

Maiwand Kabob isn't fast food. Call ahead if you want to pick up. Mrs HowChow and I waited more than 30 minutes on a Sunday night. Eventually, I elbowed through the crowd to ask for our appetizers, which the counter folks were happy to give me but hadn't thought to offer on their own.

Maiwand Kabob is part of an expanding local chain. A new one opened near Arundel Mills Mall and the BW Parkway. There are others in Linthicum and in Burtonsville, although the Burtonsville location appears to be owned by someone else.

Click here for my take on kabobs and barbeque in Howard County. If you want kabobs closer to home, consider Parsa Kabob in Elkridge or Mimi's Kabob in Clarksville. Or click for the starting page for my "What I Learned" guide to food in Howard County.

Maiwand Kabob
Harpers Choice Village Center
5467 Harpers Farm Road
Columbia, MD 21044

NEAR: This is in central Columbia, west of the Columbia Mall. Harpers Choice is between Rte 108 and Cedar Lane / Little Patuxent Parkway. From the south, Cedar Lane connects Rte 32 to Harpers Choice. From Rte 29, Broken Lane runs into Little Patuxent, which runs into Harpers Choice Road. To spot the shopping center, look for a McDonalds up against Harpers Choice Road.

Maiwand Kabob on Urbanspoon

Maiwand Kabob
Arundel Mills Preserve shopping center
7698 Dorchester Boulevard
Hanover, MD 21076

NEAR: Take the Arundel Mills exit from the BW Parkway. That road only goes east. The Arundel Mills Preserve shopping center is on the left almost immediately. There is a Starbucks in that shopping center.

Maiwand Kabob on Urbanspoon


betsy said...

I've never been to the one in Columbia, but the Burtonsville location is great, and seems faster. (Perhaps because it's usually not crowded.) They're pretty attentive - it's an order counter, not table service, but they always bring your food out.

Ira L said...

I love Kabob. When I was in Turkey I learned the difference between Shish Kabob and just Kabob. Apparently Shish means on a stick or something and Kabob is just a specific type of meat. Oh, well. Either way, the Afghan food looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

Last Friday for lunch, we stopped by the location near Arundel Mills mall and it was packed to the gills. We also waited a little over half an hour for our food. I had the vege platter which came with five different curry-style dishes as well as rice and flatbread. It was more food than I could consume in a day, let alone one sitting. Hubby ordered chicken kabobs and while the plate was bountiful, it seemed like a more reasonably-sized meal. Everything was really delicious and next time I'll be prepared with a cooler to take home the leftovers.

They actually had a woman painting murals on the wall while we were there. They were absolutely gorgeous and to watch them take shape while we dined was definitely an added bonus!

Kristi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morty Abzug said...

I recently asked Maiwand if they can do substitutions on the kebab platter, and they said they can. The default sides are rice, salad, and bread, but if you ask, they will replace the salad and rice with small portions of two of their other sides (i.e. eggplant and spinach.)

Pavlina said...

I'm a bit surprised this always has such great comments! I have been there twice and the wait both times was at least 45 minutes. The first time it was totally unexpected, the second time I called ahead and still had to wait at least 15 minutes. The food was okay. I think the food at Moby Dick is much better, less expensive and the wait is nowhere near the time. Indeed, I wonder if one could drive to Olney in the time it takes for your order to be ready here?