Since 1988, the Shish Kebab House has offered the Hartford area delicious Afghan Cuisine, such specialties as Mantoo and Ashak dumplings or award winning kebabs.
Aaron Sarwar and his sister Angela were raised in the restaurant business. “I was a year old when the family opened [the first Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan on Franklin Avenue] in ‘88,” says Aaron. Purists might quibble with labeling Afghan cuisine “Middle Eastern,” but there are some areas of overlap. “It’s really Persian food – there’s a lot of basmati rice,” says Aaron. Anyone who’s wondering what exactly goes into Afghan cooking should know that it’s not far out or unusual to the American palate that is familiar with hummus and falafel. “There’s nothing crazy,” says Aaron. “We have a lot of lamb, chicken, beef, seafood.” And some of the vegetable sides are worth making a special trip for, too, with deeply flavorful dishes using pumpkin and eggplant. Expect to see new lunch specials, and an ever-evolving happy hour.
Connecticut hookah bars are facing a lot of resistance from smoke-hating municipalities and state lawmakers. Aaron Sarwar of Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan wants everyone to know that, if you’re a hookah fan, notifying your state rep. is maybe not a bad way of letting your opinion be known. “It’s unfortunate that the state keeps bringing up hookah as an issue,” says Aaron. “They just see us as an evil pipe that’s polluting our youth.” But Sarwar views hookah as a good social alternative to drinking alcohol. They’ve been doing hookah at Shish Kebab House for four years. “I find that groups that do hookah tend to drink a lot less,” he says. If you’re totally wondering what the hell hookah is, it’s a flavored tobacco -- fruity, sweet -- smoked in a water pipe, usually shared, with butts planted in comfy cushions. It’s cozy. At Shish Kebab House it has its own separate room, completely separate from the rest of the establishment, up on the roof. “It’s very relaxing,” says Sarwar.