Greenville Avenue is quietly becoming one of our most diverse food neighborhoods. Case in point: when Nora closed and moved to the Bishop Arts District at the end of 2018, there were no more Afghan restaurants on Greenville. And now there is one again.
Greenville is not a famous Afghan district of Dallas or anything; it’s just that interesting of a place to eat. The newcomer, Ariana Cuisine, opened three months ago on the same stretch as Gloria’s and the Granada Theater. It’s led by the husband-and-wife duo Gul Rahman and Sadia Pathan. Gul tends the front of the house and Sadia is the cook behind an impressive list of home-style delights.
There are more menu items than seats at this cozy spot. The dining room only has a handful of tables, which is fine, because the owners’ style does not suit a big crowd. Pathan makes everything from scratch, preparing each meal to order. Rahman, meanwhile, is generous with suggestions about what you should order. Tell him what you like—which meats, how spicy—and he’ll tell you what to get.
Rahman suggested I start my first Ariana Cuisine experience with a chapli kebab. It’s an order of two richly spiced ground meat patties. Think of an extra-spicy burger; indeed, in Richardson, Adda serves a chapli burger. Ariana’s kebab patties are tender and cooked to perfection, not a minute longer. They come with a cooling yogurt-based dipping sauce, fluffy long-grained rice, a small green salad with lime wedges, and fresh bread slices that resemble thicker, firmer pitas.
“Everything is made in the moment,” Rahman told me, although my order had come out remarkably quickly. He also sent me back to my car with a cup of Afghan ginger tea, in addition to advice on what to order next time: goat or lamb curry.
(Speaking of the car, while this article was being edited the Dallas Observer published a story about Ariana with a three-paragraph complaint about alleged challenges with parking. I didn’t notice because I parked on a side street and walked for three minutes. There is no accessibility problem here, between side streets and Matilda Street’s bus and bike traffic only a block away. If Greenville Avenue had more parking lots, it would have less cool stuff.)
Pathan and Rahman previously owned a pizza restaurant in Mesquite, but made the move to Greenville because of its quality as a food neighborhood, and because of the opportunity to sell food close to their hearts.
Rahman says that although business has been slow in the early days, once a customer visits Ariana Cuisine for the first time, they are sure to come back again. I believe it. This is a place that embodies the spirit of hospitality. And I’ll be proving the rule true, too, because I have to go back for that lamb curry. And some bolani (potato-stuffed flatbreads). And the mantu, Afghanistan’s fabulous dumplings with yogurt sauce. And some sides of eggplant and okra to pair with that delicious bread.
Ariana Cuisine, 3607 Greenville Ave.