Written by Chris Boyle, email@example.com Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:00If 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.”
Saturday, 18 October 2014 00:00
A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.
A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.
State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.
Friday, 17 October 2014 00:00
For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.
“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.
However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”
Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:31
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
Thursday, 09 October 2014 08:47
The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.