Written by Chris Boyle, firstname.lastname@example.org 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, 27 September 2014 00:00
Old classmates reignited friendships and shared memories of their teenage years as the Hicksville High School Class of 1964 came together recently to celebrate their 50th reunion at the Holiday Inn in Plainview.
Among the attendees was Bob Cheeseman who met his wife, Lorraine (Kirwan) in middle school. They were serious throughout high school and married soon after. Bob said, “I enlisted in high school and went into the Air Force. I did 30 years active Air Force and another 15 after that. I retired in 2010 as a Brigadier General. After I retired, my wife received a certificate from the Governor of Texas and was designated a Yellow Rose of Texas.”
Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00
The Common Core results are in and overall the district performed reasonably well according to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, Marianne Litzman at Sept. 17's school board meeting.
“The students in grades 3-8 performed wonderfully in some areas but there were also some challenges,” said Litzman. “Overall as a district we performed above average for the County and State levels.”
Thursday, 25 September 2014 08:51
It seemed to happen in an instant.
Hicksville forward Michael Osmundsen was touching the ball past Kellenburg goalkeeper Jack Abuin to slot the ball into an empty net to score the lone goal in the non-league 1-0 victory over the Firebirds.
It’s nothing short of what Comets boys soccer head coach Scott Starkey would expect. He described his forward as “very explosive, fast and he’s not just fast — he’s tenacious.”
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!