Kyle and I have had conflicting schedules lately, which makes our time together difficult to plan out. He decided to take three days off and planned a dinner for us to try. Tonight’s meal was at an Afghan restaurant to try something different. We found yet another little small shop Downtown called Zara. The inside of the place was very subtle with a calm ambiance. The first thing we asked was what they were known for and customer favorites. Our waiter gave us a good selection of ideas and we tried some of them.

The first thing we had was a small appetizer, Banjan Borani. This was the one of the dishes recommended, and I’m glad we tried it. Its contents were fried eggplant, seasoned with various spices with a yogurt and tomato sauce. The eggplant was good for me, but I knew it wasn’t in Kyle’s interest. The sauce reminded me of mustard all together, but it went well with the eggplant. This was also served with a little basket of pita bread.

When it came to entrees, I ordered the Daal, which was lentil. I honestly thought it would be a soup (and I love me some lentil soup), but I’m glad it wasn’t. Inside also had seasonings, tomatoes, and cilantro. Overall, they could’ve used a little less cilantro. I love cilantro, but it’s one of those garnishes that overpowers in taste. Other than that, it was really good. It also came with a side of long grain brown rice. The white girl in me said it needed a little hot sauce to spice it up.

Kyle’s dish was the Kaboli Palow, another dish recommended. He chose lamb for his meat, and it came with the same brown rice topped with sauteed carrots and raisins. The carrots/raisins were apparently sauteed with a syrup, making it semi sweet. I had to try a small piece of the lamb as well. Tender and melts in your mouth, I’m surprised this was the first time he has ever tried lamb. It was a bit on the salty side, but the sweet carrots made up for it, making this dish perfect for the palate.

Despite my diet, I definitely couldn’t pass up an opportunity for the main desert: Bakhlava. Freshly made and mother recipe, I honestly never had a great piece of Bakhlava until tonight. I would definitely go back just for this.

I would definitely recommend Zara to anyone in Sacramento area looking for something new to try out. If you’re not willing to be too adventurous, don’t worry, they have chicken kabobs for you. I don’t know how long this store has been open for, but I would love to see it become well known over time. Definitely keeping their name of my list of favorites.


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