Best New Unexpected Restaurant - 2004
Every city has Greek food. Every city has Italian. And there aren't many cities where you can't find at least one French restaurant, one sushi place (however frightening it might be to be eating sushi in Fargo, Billings or Texarkana), and a handful of Mexican restaurants fighting it out on the edge of town. But you know you're becoming a real food city when some of the odder ethnic cuisines start sneaking in. Ethiopian, Moroccan, Brazilian -- Denver has all these, and now we even have an Afghan restaurant to call our own: Kabul Kabob. For a basic understanding of Afghan cuisine, you have only to look at a map. It exists on the culinary spectrum precisely where Afghanistan lives geographically. But to understand why this particular restaurant is so deserving of a prize, you must sit down in the beautiful, richly appointed dining room, close your eyes and taste. Everything on this menu is delicious. Nothing is overdone, overthought or overworked. There is lightness and weight, sweet and savory, Indian naan bread, dough like a yogurt lassi, mantou dumplings, Turkish coffee and heat and cold and flavors by the dozen all vying for attention, but never struggling against one another. At Kabul Kabob, everything, absolutely everything, is beautiful.