March 12, 2009|By Rob Kasper

Maiwand Kabob

839 Elkridge Landing Road, Suite 110, Linthicum (there are also locations in Harper's Choice center in Columbia and Arundel Mills mall). 410-850-0273. Open 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

A kebab done well, such at the ones served at Maiwand Kabob, is a find. In this type of cookery, whatever sits on the skewer - beef, chicken or vegetables - must emerge from the fire both cooked and moist. Then there is the issue of flavor. Because they spend such a short time cooking, kebab chunks get much of their taste from the pre-fire preparation. Marination matters.

The cooks at Maiwand Kabob, an Afghan restaurant, understand the process. Their chicken tikka kabob ($8.99), cubes of chicken marinated in spicy yogurt-based tandoori sauce that I sampled at the Linthicum location, was tender, flavorful and juicy. I could taste both the fire (it was cooked on a gas grill) and the spice from the marinade. The vegetables, tomato and onion, that shared the skewer were delectable.

Served with a large piece of tandoori bread, a puffy bread cooked on the premises in a clay oven, plus a green salad flecked with bits of cucumber and tomato and a mound of flavored rice, this dish should satisfy even the hungriest eater.

I also sampled the Bowlawni, $3.99, two pastry shells stuffed with chopped vegetables and fried in vegetable oil. One was filled with cut-up potato; the other, my favorite, was filled with chopped green onions. Both were substantial, a different way to eat vegetables.

For dessert, I feasted on the thick rice pudding, $3.99, which was not too sweet and topped with pistachios and delicately spiced with a touch of cardamom.

Maiwand Kabob has several locations, one in Harper's Choice center in Columbia, another in the Arundel Mills mall. I found the one in Linthicum in the swarm of National Security Agency buildings and motels near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

I drove along Elkridge Landing Road, passed a Hampton Inn, and then saw some soldiers dressed in camouflage, marching toward the restaurant. I followed them and was happy I did.

Best bite: Chicken Tikka Kabob with rice, green salad and bread, $8.99

Also tasted: Bowlawni, $3.99; rice pudding, $3.99

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