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Budget Beat: Afghan Kabob in Mayfair

This colorfully cozy storefront offers everything from vegetarian stews and dainty grilled lamb chops to a slew of kebabs.

Just one bite of Nasir Raufi’s aushak, a delicate leek-stuffed steamed dumpling, and we are smitten. He not only makes divine dumplings but bakes his own special flatbread and serves an incredible array of traditional treats at this colorfully cozy, rug-laden Mayfair storefront. Raufi offers everything from vegetarian stews and dainty grilled lamb chops to a slew of kebabs. Start with the Chef’s Sampler ($12.99, easily feeds three to four), which showcases aushak as well as mantu (a savory dumpling filled with ground beef), sautéed eggplant, and delectable bourani kadu—sweet semimashed butternut squash. A drizzle of yogurt sauce spiked with mint and garlic adds extra spark to all. The star of the entrée lineup is kabuli palaw ($11.99), a brawny, succulent lamb shank under an avalanche of brown basmati rice strewn with raisins and carrots. Char-grilled kebabs, many accented with tart, musky sumac, come in various guises and combos. Look for juicy shami, two logs of deftly seasoned coarse ground beef ($8.99), or crisp-edged, tender catfish ($10.99). Plan on chai or soft drinks (no BYO here) for sipping and on ferni, a light, refreshing cardamom-scented pudding, for comfort. 4040 W. Montrose Ave.; 773-427-5041.

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