The area behind the Turf Valley golf club along Mariottsville Road has gone through some radical changes. A large strip-mall shopping center, the Turf Valley Towne Square, has popped up with a new Harris Teeter grocery store as an anchor as well as four new restaurants: Red Parrot (Asian), Facci (Italian), XiTomate (Mexican), Grille 620 (Steaks/Seafood) and – last but not least! – the comparatively small, stylish Mimi’s Kabob serving up Afghan food with special emphasis on … Kabob! Like Red Parrot and Facci which have other locations in Howard county, this is Mimi’s second location (the first location is in Clarksville)
The interior is stylish and eye catching with Afghan inspired art and lamps with a counter at the rear where you place your order (if you’re eating “in”, the staff brings your food to your table)
The menu offers a dozen appetizers (all $4.99!), a few salads $6-$10, ten entrees (including different Kabobs; $9 – $16), Chicken and/or Lamb curries ($9-$11), a variety of wraps (Chicken, Kofta, Veggie, Gyro and Falafel – $8 – $9). The three of us decided to share a couple of appetizers: Samosas and Aushak.
The samosas were filled mostly with potato and were largely lacking the peas and spices mentioned in the menu description and a bit dry despite some accompanying yogurt sauce; consensus was that they were a bit of a disappointment. In contrast, the Aushak (Afghan version of ravioli filled with leeks and sauteed beef in a yogurt sauce with garlic and mint) were far more of a hit (I found myself wishing that we had two orders of Aushak!)
For our entree course, I ordered the Chicken Kabob Salad ($10), Paul went with the Lamb Curry Platter ($11) and Tom opted for the Chicken Karahi ($10).
I was impressed with my salad! Six big chunks of spiced chicken were cooked just right and very tasty and presented on top of field greens with slices of cucumber, tomato and olives got a quick “Thumbs Up!” from me!
Tom’s Karahi looked very eye catching served in what I guess is the Afghan equivalent of a wok (We discovered that “Karahi” is the Afghan name for the wok-like pot that the chicken was cooked in!) . A generous number of pieces of chicken proved to have bones in them which he hadn’t expected to find; a few bits of menu promised ginger and tomato were present. He wasn’t sure if it was the tomato sauce or how the chicken had been cooked but it proved to be pretty salty (which was in big contrast to the chicken chunks on the salad). Tom end up leaving about a 1/3 of his entree uneaten and declined to take the remainder with him. Because of the bones and the saltiness, he wouldn’t recommend the Chicken Karahi.
The Lamb Curry platter came with rice pilaf and a small side salad. The lamb was tasty and the portion was generous (so generous that Paul ended up asking for a box to take home what he couldn’t finish!)
Our meals also came with some large pieces of Tandoor bread still warm from the grill!
We shared a piece of baklava for dessert and were really impressed – Unlike versions of this that we’ve tried at other restaurants, this was pleasantly sweet but not dripping with honey or sugar syrup.
The staff was friendly and helpful! The atmosphere was pleasant and most – but not all – of the food that we sampled earned our “Thumbs Up!”!
FACTS: Mimi’s Kabob, Ellicott City; 1071 Resort Rd. Suite 702 (in the Turf Valley Town Square center off of Mariottsville Rd just north of Rte 40); http://mimiskabob.com ; Phone: (410) 203-1300; No Liquor; Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner (most days from 11 am to 9 pm); vegetarian options; take-out available; adjacent free parking.