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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

Levittown Hall in Hicksville comes alive every Thursday night with music, dance, fun and laughter as students are swept away into the world of Latin dance.

Under the instruction of professional teacher Mark James, dance hopefuls learn a trio of Latin dance, including salsa, meringue and what James describes as the biggest craze in Latin dancing today, bachata.

 book shops in Hicksville and around the country will hand out free comics on Oct. 25, to celebrate the second biggest free comic book event of the year—Halloween ComicFest. On Saturday, anyone who goes into a participating comic shop can choose from 19 free comics and participate in fun activities comic shops host for their customers to enjoy, while discovering new types of comics and the treasures found in store.

In Hicksville, both Game Master Games (954 S. Broadway) and Amok Time (108C New South Road) will be taking part in the Halloween ComicFest festivities. Game Master Games just recently started carrying comic books and this will be the store’s first comic book-related event. Coincidently, the event runs in the middle of an in-store gaming convention, and store owner Dave VanderWerf is looking forward to the increased exposure for the store.


Sports

The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



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