Rania's Kabob Grill: Afghan Cuisine Has Come to Gilbert (With Delivery!)
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Lauren Saria Beef Keemah Kabob at Rania's in Chandler.
Restaurant: Rania's Kabob Grill
Lauren Saria Rania's
Location: 1674 N. Higley Rd., Gilbert
Open: About a month
Price: $15 to $20 per person
We can thank the Ansari family for this Afghan restaurant, located in a shopping complex just south of the US 60 on Higley Road. The restaurant offers a menu of Afghan cuisine including a version of qabili palau, often considered Afghanistan's national dish.
More importantly though for Gilbert-ites: they deliver.
And delivery might be an better option than navigating Rania's funky service situation. That's because the restaurant is designed to be a counter service operation, with a menu on the wall, a serve-yourself soda machine and even little number holders on the tables. But when we stopped in we were told to seat ourselves and we handed menus by a friendly waitress, who explained (later in the meal) that the restaurant had recently switched from counter to full-service.
Lauren Saria Bolani from Rania's in Gilbert.
But on to the food. We started with an duo of chicken samosas ($2), which featured superbly moist ground chicken mixed with potatoes, peas, onions, cliantro, and other spices. The turnovers were encased by a thick, crisp shell of dough and pan fried, leaving the dish a little too oily for some. But not enough that it discouraged us from finishing every last bite.
We also tried the bolani ($6.95), a dish that's sort of like an Indian paratha. The turnover is filled with potatoes, scallions, and spices then folded in half and grilled. The dough itself might remind you of a crepe as it's thin and just a little bit stretchy. It makes for a tasty and filling appetizer, particularly if you use the accompanying cilantro chutney -- though it tasted like jalapenos to us.
Lauren Saria Rania's salad bar offers more than just the usual fare.
Pretty much every entree on the menu comes with a choice of naan or salad and both are honestly good options. The naan here is fluffy though, sort of like a mix between naan and pita bread, with a doughy inside and crispy, oven-baked exterior. And as for the salad option, you get a little bowl and all-you-can-eat access to Rania's salad bar. There are options like kidney beans, raisins, pickled brusselsprouts, and chickpeas to put on top of your lettuce. As well as a very garlicky yogurt-based House Creamy dressing, among other options.