I had dinner at Lapis with Eater D.C. Editor Warren Rojas on 5-3-2017. The food was good but what really stood out for me was the space.
This place had a very bohemian vibe. It reminded me of Cornell professors’ houses from growing up in Ithaca: eclectic, exotic, but instantly approachable. It had a lived-in feel but in a well-loved, not shabby, kind of way. It reminded me of say your favorite Italian loafers that’ll last forever and never go out of style. I can’t totally put it into words but the vibe was warm and welcoming and I would go back just to be in that space again.
We sat by the window but next time I want to check out their bar, which looked great.
So much good food and drink!
The Viceroy (basil cucumber infused gin, lime, elderflower liqueur, cava). This was good and more cucumbery than I expected. The citrus was refreshing while the gin plus basil gave it an herbal spiciness not unlike the taste of bitters.
Kabul shandy (bourbon, cardamom simple syrup, peppercorn saison, fresh lemon). I don’t usually love bourbon cocktails but man could I drink a few of these. It was really well-balanced: sweet with hints of citrus and spice, without an overwhelming taste of alcohol.
Bolani (pan seared crispy Afghan flatbread, pumpkin filling, leek-cilantro filling, yogurt, chutney). The best part of this was hands down the chutney. It consisted of cilantro, mint, jalapeno, walnut, and garlic. It was a little spicy and absolutely fantastic. The yogurt was also good and reminded me of tzatziki. The flatbread itself was stuffed and more like a calzone. The pumpkin one was very mild and benefited from both the sauces. The leek one was a little more peppery but still had a pretty subdued flavor.
Mantoo beef afghan dumplings (traditional steamed dumplings topped with yellow split pea and tomato sauce). These weren’t super flavorful but were very comforting almost like meatloaf. They were also a little spicier than I expected, which I liked.
This is where the server changed our share plates–thank you!
Buranee banjan (baked eggplant, sauteed tomatoes, topped with garlic yogurt and dry mint). This was really good, both mellow and tender. You could definitely taste the tomato though I think the yogurt was my favorite part.
Chopawn (“Afghan shepherd” lamb chops, pickled house salad, Afghan naan, rice, chutney). This was definitely the best dish–it was fantastic. The seasoning on the lamb was to die for. The pickled vegetables were almost too vinegary for me but paired with the lamb were perfect. The naan was funny in that it almost had a spicy sweet flavor almost like gingerbread. The rice, which I think was their “chalow” rice, tasted of mulling spices just as the server described; there was definitely cumin and possibly also cardamom.
Overall this was a lovely dinner at a warm, welcoming neighborhood restaurant.