When Silk Road opened in Warren in 2004, most people in the area weren’t familiar with Afghan cuisine. “Some people like to put us in the same category as Indian, but it’s nothing like that,” says Mohamed Sidiqee, whose parents, Hashim and Naomi Sidiqee, founded the restaurant.
Hashim, a longtime Warren resident, immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan in the early 80s and later wanted to share his love of the food from his native country with his new community. The recipes used in the restaurant have been passed down from Hashim’s family.
In the beginning, many of their customers were those who were familiar with the food because they had lived in that area of the world. But then they started coming back and bringing their friends, who had no knowledge of the cuisine.
“They were really surprised by our food and the ambience, and then those new customers started bringing in their family and friends,” says Naomi. These people eventually became not just customers, but friends of the family. “That is how we survived in this business. It's our loyal customers. We are so thankful they keep coming.”
She says Hashim is a perfectionist. Every part of the restaurant – the kitchen, dining room, and restrooms – are always kept clean and sanitary. “And the food is prepared from his heart – that’s how he does it.”
Customers’ favorites include lamb chops and shanks, and salmon, lamb, and chicken kabobs. “All of them are marinated and they’re so flavorful, but none of the spices are hot,” says Mohamed.
The food is also very fresh and prepared in a healthy way. The family cuts its own meat and makes the yogurt, cheeses and flat bread served in the restaurant. The bread is baked fresh in a tandoor oven for every customer and is accompanied by Hashim’s homemade condiments.
Entrees come with a salad and a variety of unique rice medleys. The most popular is the Naringe Palow with orange peel, saffron, pistachio and almonds. Others include the Kabli Palaw, made with brown rice and topped with carrots and raisins, the Ladam Palaw with spinach, and the Chalaw, a lightly seasoned rice with Afghan spices. Vegetarians can order these rice dishes as entrees and add in vegetables grilled to perfection.
After dinner, customers can choose baklava, rice pudding, custard or elephant ears for dessert.
The atmosphere of this Afghan and Mediterranean restaurant is very warm and comfortable. “It's like you're walking into someone’s house,” says Mohamed. “Once someone comes in, they always want to come back. Plus, we serve a lot of food, so they usually take some home to have the next day.”
Adds Naomi, “We raised our children here and they learned the business. This is a family legacy that we would like to pass down to our three children.”
Silk Road is also a great place for private celebrations such as anniversaries, birthdays, and weddings. Catering is available as well.
To make reservations, call (908) 561-8288, and for more information, go to SilkRoadRestaurantNJ.com.