Bamyan Afghan Restaurant in San Rafael, CA: Best Customer Service EVER!

So, I go out to grab some dinner, and decide to get some take away from this Afghani restaurant I’d just been introduced to. Really good food. It’s all dry rub stuff: no sauces, unless you count yoghurt. I order my food, then go sit in my car and listen to the radio for a bit while they put it together. After about ten minutes, I get out of my car, lock the door, close it, and then almost put my fist throught the driver’s side window because I just realized I left my keys in there!

So, I go back to the restaurant to ask if they’ve got any sort of mall security or anything that can help me out. They don’t, but they do have a coat hanger. I go out and try to unlock my door with that. No dice. After about fifteen minutes of scratching the hell out of my paint job (small loss) one of the waiters comes out with one of the metal skewers they use to cook the kebabs, to see if that will work any better. No such luck. Me and the waiter head back to the restaurant so I can, at least, eat my dinner before I call a cab or catch a bus, or whatever I’m going to do to get home, grab my extra key, and come back to get my car. Before I can do that, the owner of the place, Wahib, comes up and ask where I live.

“Corte Madera,” I tell him, which is about ten minutes away.

“You have extra key there? Come. I drive you there.”

“You don’t have to do that! I can call a cab…”

“No, no. Come. I give you ride.”

Just like that. This was only the second time I’d ever eaten there, and this guy was willing to drop everything just to help me out, without even batting an eye. No question about it: I was a customer, I needed help, he helped. Who does that anymore? Well, Wahib, of Bamyan Afghan Restaurant does. I promised I’d tell all my friends about his place, so here I am: if you’re in the California Bay Area, and you want good food made by good people, check out Banyan Afghan, (scroll down to the 3rd restaurant listed, ignore the review) on 3rd St. in San Rafael, in the Montecito shopping center. Tell 'em the guy who locked his keys in his car sent you.

Oh happy story!

<old lady mode>

gives you back your faith in human nature, doesn’t it?
</old lady mode>

It sort of does, though, in all seriousness.

Al the same, I can equal that (or better it even). How about similar lovely treatment from a roadside eatery I had never been to before? In this case, we were OK for car keys, but not for car.

Shame I cannot by now recall the name, but it’s in the middle of nowhere on a road on the west coast of Wales, should anyone feel moved to pay the lovely people a visit. :slight_smile:

Me and then b/f, intending a trip to see some old Roman gold mines, and to picnic somewhere near destination, which in fact we were not destined to reach.

So, despite the fact it was raining terribly, we did stop en route to buy picnicy food, and carried on. Shoudl have stopped in that little town, really, but no. Miles later, I?m still not sure what caused the car to swerve (I cannot drive and am ignorant about cars), but swerve it did.

It was a polite car, though, because it chose the direction that did not involve hurtling down a hill. And came to a halt just where 3 inches to one side would have overturned it into a ditch/culvert thing. Yes, I would happily ascribe this to boyfriend’s driving skills, but he didn?t - he reckoned he hadn?t at all had time to think, and we were really mucho lucky

I’ll speed up the narrative - anyway when we had got our breath back and said “Oh shit” a few times, we set off (getting out of car very carefully* :slight_smile: )to look for somewhere that might have a phone. A guy stopped and was nice nough to offer us a lift to where he said there would be a petrol (gas) station and also a roadside cafe sort of place nearby, and there must be a phone. It was great of him, cos we were two *extremely * wet people.

So that was good. And when we got to this wondrous haven that was the little cafe thing, the lady there looked at us trying not to drip like sea monsters all over her nice place, then ordered us to sit down at once - saying we must have some coffee, and THEN, if we could order lunch when we were warmed up enough to think. We say, um, yes… so we enjoyed being under a roof, and felt bad for being so very wet and unappealing customers, and chatted with her.

She wanted to know why we we wandering out so wetly on such a terrible day, and on hearing that our hope was to use a phone to contact a repair or rescue service, then to walk 4 or 5 miles back to the car, absolutely insisted that we should not, and that her daughter should drive us back to car.

Of course, maybe she wanted to get the hell rid of these drippy sea monster people. :slight_smile: Still, I suspect we provided some lunchtime amusement for the other customers, who, I am sure, were busy thinking - “haha - silly silly city foreigners!”

For people she had never seen before, and was not very likely to see again (our non local accents and ignorance of where there would be a local car fixer-upper made that clear.)… well, I thought that was really tremendously kind of them both.

Their kindness, and that of the chap who had offered a lift to people who were quiite untidilyand undesirably wet, in a strange way, made it almost a good day. (Car was very ill though! )

(It suddenly occurs to me now ('cos this was quite a few years ago) what wonderful things cellphones are!).

Well, I hope Mr.Wahib gets many many SDMB customers after your recommendation, Miller. You can’t get much better than "good food cooked by good people.:slight_smile:

Indeed. That place rocks. Good food, great people. When I worked in San Rafael, we ate lunch there at least once a month, and then started going more frequently when it looked like they were in danger of going out of business.

I’d already moved out of Marin by the time the whole war in Afghanistan started, but I made a point to go back whenever I could, because I’d heard that Afghani restaurants were hit hard after the war started.

Is the guy you talked to the guy with the big mustache? He’s intimidating as hell, but the more often we went, the friendlier he was. I started to get the impression that their business was always borderline, even before the war, and he encouraged repeat customers. I didn’t need a reason to go back; the food & service are great.

And the dolma there is just amazing. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else, even at other Afghani restaurants. Anyone in the area should go to Bamyan; it’s good food and good people.

Phoenix isn’t big on “alternative” foods. What is Afghani food like? I love traditional “middle eastern” fare, and I’ve had, and loved Moroccan (once - can’t find it here).

Thanks for the recommendation!

**Rhiannon ** and I will make a point of stopping there for a meal the next time we are heading toward the Bay Area. Or we might make a special trip just for dinner; it wouldn’t be all that strange for us. San Rafael is only about a 90 minute drive from Sacramento.

Yep, that sounds like Wahib. (Didn’t get his last name, although odds are, I couldn’t have spelled it even if I did.) I understand the place used to be twice as big a few years ago, but apparently they weren’t getting enough business to support that much floor space. On the ride to my place, Wahib said that business was pretty bad in the summers, but the two times I’d been there, neither during the normal dinner-time rush, they were still half-full, so I hope they can stick around for a few more years.

I’ve only been there twice, and got the same thing both times, so I can’t really give you the expert opinion, but it’s pretty simple stuff. Basic meat dishes, emphasis on lamb, with seasoning instead of sauces. Very savory. Lots of rice. Not much in the green and leafy department. Good bread, too. Thick, but not dense, if that makes any sense.