Maiwand Kabob's counter-service Afghan food in need of some adjustments

Maiwand Kabob
(Anna Walsh)

In a 2012 Baltimore Sun review of Maiwand Kabob's then-new location in Columbia Crossing, the fourth location of the locally owned Afghan kabob restaurant, Richard Gorelick wrote that Maiwand Kabob was as beloved in HoCo as The Helmand is here in Baltimore—strong words, given how much we tend to drool over The Helmand's kaddo borwani. So we knew we had to check it out when we heard that Maiwand Kabob had opened a new location here in Charm City on March 30.

Maiwand Kabob occupies a pretty small space a block up from Harborplace, with counter service and enough tables to seat 20-30 people. The menu is mostly, as you would expect, kabobs, with some gyros, some additional entrees, and plenty of appetizers rounding out the offerings. We ordered the vegetable platter ($10.99), composed of spinach, pumpkin, basmati rice, chickpea curry, eggplant, and a side of naan. The basmati rice was delightfully fragrant, but the pile of cooked spinach next to it was rather bland and watery—more garlic, please!—and the chickpea curry, which had chunks of potato and peas mixed in, could have used a touch more spice. The eggplant dish, on the other hand, had a good flavor (though again, we didn’t taste much garlic), but the serving we received had more green bell peppers and tomatoes than pan-fried and baked eggplant. As for the pumpkin appetizer, the label of “appetizer” is a bit of a misnomer, as it was so sweet that we had to save it for last and treat it as a dessert.
We were surprised by the quality of the meat in the chicken shawarma ($10.49) and the day’s special ($9.99), which had chunks of chicken in curry with peas. The chicken in both dishes tasted cheap and dry, like something you might get in a sandwich at Quiznos. It was a pity, because the curry had a nice spice to it, and the tahini sauce in the shawarma was, as tahini always is, delicious.
We want to give Maiwand Kabob the benefit of the doubt—it hasn’t been open for very long, after all, and the food was certainly serviceable with satisfying portions. And maybe the quality of the other meats (beef and lamb are both well represented on the menu) is better. But for our money, we’ll probably go to the other recently opened counter-service Afghan restaurant in town, Maiwand Grill.