PARSIPPANY — With a major Nor’easter/snowstorm bearing down on New Jersey, and not wanting to drive, I figured it would be a good time to visit a nearby popular eatery, Kabab Paradise (Afghani Restaurant), on North Beverwyck Road in Lake Hiawatha. I would say calling this place popular is an understatement. The whole time I was there one customer after another streamed into the takeout/pick-up area of the restaurant, probably also trying to get ahead of the storm. The interesting thing, which says a lot about the restaurant, is that despite all that was going on, everyone who came in appeared to be in a good mood as a remarkably busy and very personable Farhad Saleh took a second or two to greet and welcome every one of them. A very cordial, friendly, and family-oriented atmosphere permeated throughout the restaurant.
Farhad’s father Fahim, originally from Afghanistan, opened Kabab Paradise in 2003. It was, and still is, a family-owned and operated business utilizing Fahim’s family recipes to serve authentic gourmet, Afgan delicacies right from his homeland.
Son, Farhad Saleh, who was multi-tasking at the counter, and brother Ali Saleh, both of whom apparently were raised learning the business from the master are clearly carrying on in their father’s footsteps and are now proudly sharing their family’s love of great food and professional and caring service.
I would describe Kabab Paradise as a fast-casual eatery, specializing in halal dishes. The interior is large comfortable and airy and would probably hold close to 100 diners when at full capacity. Of course, the current set up was in conformance with today’s social distancing requirements, plus it appeared most of their business was takeout, at least for tonight. Simple décor, clean but nothing fancy or pretentious, with some Afgan, inspired scenes on the walls. My server was fast, friendly, and professional. When you enter the restaurant, you order and pay at a counter in a smaller section which is set off from the larger dining area. You are then given a table number, proceed to your table, and the waitress will then serve your order when ready.
Halal, from what I was told, is somewhat like the Muslim version of Kosher and refers to the way an animal is both treated during its life, as well as how it is slaughtered and preserved. Halal is exclusively used at Kabab Paradise and is always fresh and delicious. For those who prefer something else they also offer a great menu of typically American classic dishes and sandwiches, with their own little twist. This includes a wide selection of burgers (it appeared they were all named after planets), fries, chicken wings, cheesesteaks, and more. Everything looked and smelled fantastic.
I ordered the Sambosa as my appetizer. This came with six home-made nice-sized Sambosa’s over a salad of lettuce, tomato, and onions. Sambosa’s are dumplings filled with ground beef, onions, garlic, herbs, and spices and served with yogurt sauce. They were perfectly cooked, delicious, and well filled. Frankly, these could have served as a meal in themselves.
They also came with a side of both green and extra white sauce. I loved the white sauce, which was basically a tangy Tzatziki sauce, which was homemade with their own twist. Really enhanced my already tasty Sambosa’s.
I should note that Kabab Paradise is a BYOB. It was early so instead of bringing along my own I decided to go with their Mango Lassi (basically a yogurt-based mango milkshake or smoothie). Try it you will like it.
As I usually do for these reviews, I ordered their signature dish for my entrée, the Mixed Gyro Platter. The platter consisted of mixed chicken and lamb, slow-cooked in a pit and shaved off layer by layer and then marinated in a blend of yogurt, cilantro, dried cranberries, and a touch of garlic, all of which infuse the meat creating a savory and mouth-watering dish.
It is then drizzled with yogurt sauce and served with sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms, along with a generous portion of imported Kabuli rice. Every bite was full of flavor. Kabuli is a variety of pilaf made in Afghanistan and consists of steamed rice mixed with raisins, carrots. If you do not want the raisins and carrots in your Gyro just let them know. Personally, I think they are a plus.
The platter was huge! The portions are larger than most normal people can or should possibly finish and will make a great leftover meal the next day. I do not know how I did it but being the gavone I am I did manage to clean my plate and enjoyed every bit of it.
In summary, food is delicious, very reasonable prices, service is fast and friendly, portions are generous. If you have not been to Kabab, I think you should put it on the list of places to go. I highly recommend it.
And please come out and support all our small, independent local businesses in any way you can.
Inside Dining, Take Out, BYOB, Halal, Small Parking Lot and Street Parking, Delivery.
Kabab Paradise is located at 76 North Beverwyck Road, Lake Hiawatha. (973) 334-7900. Click here to view their website.
They also have locations in Randolph and Teaneck.
Kabab Paradise has catered to an array of events from corporate events, baby showers, birthday parties, and more.