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The cover of the June 1985 National Geographic featured the now famous portrait of Sharbat Gula, "the Afghan Mona Lisa." Though her identity was not known at the time, she instantly became one of the most famous Afghan women. Her portrait on the wall at Kabob Palace on Manchester Road in Ballwin is a reminder that this is an Afghan restaurant, currently the only in Missouri, and that its proprietors take pride in that heritage. The understated Middle Eastern décor and elegant dining room set an overall comfortable atmosphere. The menu includes familiar Persian dishes, including sambosas filled with potatoes and scallions or byriani served with vegetables, chicken or shrimp, stir-fried and served with bread and chutney. Other Afghan dishes include Afghani muntoo - pockets stuffed with ground beef and onions and topped with seasoned beef and lintels - or qabelli palau - lamb or chicken with rice cooked in lamb stock with raisins and carrots. Kabob Palace also features a wide selection of kebabs, such as Kabob Palace kobedah beef kebabs served with grilled tomatoes or Afghani chapli kebabs - spicy hamburger patties served with rice, salad and naan. Kabob Palace is also available for catering and private parties.
Located on Delmar Boulevard a few blocks east of the Loop, Nubia Café features a fusion of West African and Caribbean dishes and entertainment. The head cook, a Nigerian native, offers a menu featuring authentic and inspired meals, such as jerk chicken spiced to order, red beans and rice, a specially spiced bison burger and a vegetarian-friendly yam portage. Diners can also savor Mamma's Stew, a rich concoction of a tomato base, greens, rice and chicken, beef or goat meat. Nubia's colorful interior features large tables, outdoor dining and a full bar that specializes in South African wines. Nubia also hosts private events and offers customized menu items for special parties.
Afghani cuisine adds nicely to the Grove's diverse culinary community (Sameem's menu also includes Indian and Pakistani dishes). If you're looking for the perfect introduction, try the Muntoo, a standout dish: steamed dumplings filled with onion and ground beef, topped with lentils and more ground beef, a garlic-yogurt sauce and dried mint. If you're in the mood for something a bit spicier, try the lamb or chicken karahi, which serves your choice of meat in a tomato-based sauce enriched with garlic and jolted with green chiles.
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