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Eats and Drinks

Best Restaurant

The Helmand

806 N. Charles St., (410) 752-0311

Posted 9/17/1997

It was an experience that shook us to our very innards. Not long ago we ate at Mount Vernon's Helmand and had something that was merely . . . really, really good. Don't underestimate this. We're considering calling for a full-fledged investigation. Anything short of sublime culinary perfection represents a disappointment at Baltimore's temple of all things Afghan. Ah, the glories of the Helmand. Kaddo borawni-pumpkin, garlic, and yogurt spun into gold. Crispy potato- and leek-filled bowlawni. Chewy Afghan bread, and savory challow (rice) spiked with cilantro sauce. Chicken cooked to such tenderness that to say it melts in your mouth would be an insult. Vegetarian dolma (baby eggplant stuffed with spinach); and aushak (leek ravioli in a sauce of yogurt, mint, and either ground beef or split peas); and cardamom custard topped with fresh fruit; and other wonders too numerous to mention, served up by quietly industrious and knowledgeable staffers in an elegantly darkened dining room suffused with the incense of intermingling spices. Think we wax a mite too rhapsodic? Go eat there. But only in the evening, which brings us to our only beef with this year's winner. Open up for lunch, folks-we can guarantee you at least our midday business.

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