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Kabul Grill Offers Cuisine Steeped In Taste

If you’re looking for a unique and delicious dining experience in the Hicksville area with an extra serving of hospitality steeped deeply in a rich and vibrant culture, the Kabul Grill Kabob and Tea House, located at 129 North Broadway, might just be what you’re looking for.

Kabul Grill owner Noor Shair is a Plainview resident who originally hails from Afghanistan, and surprisingly had no aspirations of entering the restaurant field in his younger years. He was employed in his home country as a pilot for Afghanistan International Airlines, having been formally taught the ins-and-outs of flying commercial aircraft in America beforehand.

“The airline sent me and several other pilots to the United States in 1972 for training,” he said. “Then we came home and began flying large Boeing airplanes for the airlines.”

Things went smoothly for a while; Shair married and started a family. However, when Russia invaded Afghanistan several years later, throwing the entire country into turmoil, he knew the lives of himself and his loved ones depended upon a fast change of scenery. In November 1979, he set into a motion a chain of events with the goal of leaving his home country and traveling to the land of opportunity—America.

“I flew a plane to Frankfurt, Germany, and I defected there, and then I came to the United States,” he said. “I didn’t bring my family on that plane with me, because I didn’t want anyone to suspect what I was doing. Instead, they came on the next flight, and the flight I was supposed to take back to Afghanistan from Germany, well, I just never got on it!”

 Once situated in his new home, Shair began working as a pilot for the now-defunct Eastern Airlines. When they closed their doors in 1991, he decided it was time to change careers. A friend of his was interested in getting into the restaurant business, and despite it representing a radical 180 degree turn from his previous profession, Shair decided to take a chance on it, as airline jobs at the time were scarce.  “This was right after the Gulf War, and no airlines in America were hiring. I had an opportunity to join Japan Airlines or Singapore Airlines, but I decided to remain here with my children and my family,” he said. “My friend and I opened up an Afghani restaurant together in Queens, but it ended up falling through. Then I was on my own, but I had learned all I needed to know about the restaurant business, so I decided to try open my own restaurant.”

 That restaurant, of course, was Kabul Grill Kabob and Tea House. In 2000; relying on the impressive culinary skills of his wife, restaurant head chef Trina, as well as the rich traditions and heritage of his homeland of Afghanistan, Shair said that the business was very well-received upon opening and has maintain a devoted clientele ever since

 “My wife makes very good food and has personally trained our kitchen staff. We offer good service and hospitality, which is part of our culture anyway,” he said. “In my culture, even if your enemy comes into your home with a gun, you’re supposed to treat them well. The priority is to give them the best in hospitality that you can.”

 Kabul Grill seats about 60 people and specializes in Afghani-style food; Shair said that their specialty is various shish-kabob dishes and home-made appetizers which we had the pleasure of sampling. To whet our appetites we first tried the Butanee Kadoo, a unique and delicious dish comprised of slices of pumpkin mildly seasoned and topped with a special sauce; this produced a flavor that was both sweet and spicy at the same time, combined with the smooth texture of the pumpkin. The Sambosa were crispy fried pastry turnovers stuffed with ground beef, and the Bulanee were pastries of similar ilk, although stuffed with mashed potatoes and veggies. Both were very tasty, especially when dipped in a welcome side of fresh hommus.

The main course consisted of a mouth-watering serving of freshly-cooked kabob meat, where we tried chicken, steak, and lamb, served on a bed of imported middle-eastern rice. All were prepared and seasoned to perfection, with the lamb being especially tender and juicy.

With the restaurant business in general feeling the sting of the economic slump that’s holding much of the country within its grasp, Shair said that Kabul Grill has been nonetheless been getting by handily. As long as his customers are satisfied and keep coming back, then he’s a satisfied man, he said. With food as good as he’s offering, we think that’s a more than reasonable expectation on his part.

 “I’m pleased because we are doing well. I’m not greedy, but as long as I have a decent living and pay my bills and people are enjoying themselves here, than nothing could be wrong,” he said. “We have steady customers, ones who have followed me here from Brooklyn and Queens, and when they come, they know this is a family-run business — my wife and I are always here, and my son works here as well — so they know things are being run right. And at the end of the day, if my customers are happy, then I’m happy as well.”

News

Last week, County Executive Ed Mangano declared amnesty for all speed camera tickets issued this summer.

Drivers across Nassau County were up in arms due to the recent implementation of the school zone cameras, which had issued numerous violations since they were installed just weeks ago. The source of residents anger with the county’s speed cameras stems from lack of  warning and the cameras issuing speed violations even when school wasn’t in session.

The 7th annual Parish of the Holy Family Festival went off without a hitch and lit up the night sky on Fordham Avenue in Hicksville last week. Thousands of community members came and joined in the festivities.  

This year’s theme was the 1964-1965 World’s Fair that took place in Queens. Volunteer coordinator and 28-year member of the congregation Mary White said “We are having this festival to raise money and to offset the expenditures of the school and the church. Last year we had a record breaking 10,000 people attend and while all the numbers are not in yet, we are doing very well this time around too. The turnout has been great because the weather has been so cooperative.”


Sports

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its fourth tournament on Thursday Aug. 7. We had 33 golfers and a record 8 who scored under 40. Low overall score was won by newcomer Ed Hyne with an impressive 33, his second low net in a row. Charlie Acerra scored a solid 35, and won low overall net with a 26; his best score in 4 years.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 % handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season. The league meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., but the formal tournament dates are only the first and third Thursday of the month through late October. We will have a final luncheon with prizes on our last meeting.

The fields of Kevin Kolm Memorial Park were filled with nearly 200 soccer players on Saturday for the annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event. The event was put together by the Mastermind Unit in sponsor of the Michael Magro Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting pediatric patients with cancer and their families.

“The Mastermind Unit is a non-profit organization that was founded by a group of guys who grew up playing soccer together in Hicksville,” said co-founder Bryan Alcantara. “This is our seventh annual  ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event at Memorial Park.”


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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