BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
Khyber Pass was one of those places that I had passed regularly, several times a month, but had never been to. I finally stopped in when poking around the East Village one night, looking for a cozy nook to enjoy some warm food in.
Upon entering, the sweet smell of flavored Hookah tobacco filled my nose and my boyfriend and I were lead to a table at the back of the restaurant. A corner booth, with well worn seats and an Afghani rug (with a thin sheet of glass over top of it), as the table top. The room was dark and inviting, filled with warm hues of red, purple, and orange; if walls could talk, I’m sure the stories of nights past would echo long after the last dish was served for the night. The service, I quickly learned due to the fact that we were asked 3 times by 3 different people if we were ready to order yet, was in typical East Village style, disorganized and ditsy.
We started out with a pot of the Persian tea ($4.50) and the hummus and pita ($5.00). The hummus and pita were both disappointing. The hummus, too thin in consistency and the pita just plain stale. They could have at least heated it up to soften it a bit.
Our next courses came quickly. For me, the Kofta Chalow ($12.95) which included a bowl filled with 3 large meat balls in a pool of tomato sauce and a huge plate of white rice to the side. This dish, while not gourmet, was great and epitomized comfort food at it’s best. The rice was moist and cooked to surprising perfection along with the meatballs which were juicy and flavorful. The sauce complemented the meatballs with a strong, yet not over powering tomato flavor. All worked in harmony with each other and made me feel like I was eating a wonderful home cooked meal.
After a satisfying main course, the only answer for dessert was the baklava ($3.50). The flaky phyllo dough drenched in honey hit the spot (even if it wasn’t the best baklava I’ve ever had) and rounded out the meal.
Overall, the meal was satisfying, left me smiling, and kept my wallet full. Maybe it wasn’t the best, or most refined food I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating, but the experience was a great one, reminding me of the eclectic nature and undeniable history which surrounds the East Village.