PALMA CEIA — Introducing Afghan cuisine to a neighborhood pizzeria, now renamed Anaar Bar and Grill, will express hospitality, friendship and other values shared with Americans, says Kabul-born Piaman Sediq.
"Anaar means pomegranate," Sediq said, explaining that the seeded fruit is a symbol of abundance and prosperity throughout the Middle East. Sediq and his mother, Fatima Sediq, bought DeLosa's on Henderson Boulevard last month.
"She gave up the family secrets to the chefs, Kevin Palm and Ivan Lozano," said Sediq, 39, who grew up in Vienna, Va., where he owned a deli in the late 1990s. His wife, Qudsia, grew up in the Los Angeles area and lives in Afghanistan.
While pizza, salads and wings remain on the menu for now, Afghani additions include a variety of kabobs — lamb, chicken, beef, jumbo shrimp and the top-priced entree, a combination kabob for $18. "That's a lot of food," Sediq said.
There are several quorma options (spinach, eggplant, chicken and more), each blended with yogurt spiced with cumin and coriander. Bouranee baunjaun is a popular fried eggplant appetizer.
"And my mother's favorite dish, karniyarik, because she's Turkish: eggplant stuffed with a mix of ground meat, sauteed onions, garlic, tomatoes and cilantro."
The video game room and prize machines are staying, adds the father of two sons, 2 and 6. "We are very kid friendly."
Catering is available and private parties welcome.
A lunch buffet is coming in January.
Anaar Bar and Grill, at 4110 Henderson Blvd, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, "a little later Friday and Saturday," and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Visit anaarbarandgrill.com or call (813) 289-3647.
Casual Japanese fare of Nakaya worth the hunt
Don't trust Google maps to find Nakaya, the casual Japanese restaurant now filling the spot formerly occupied by Second Line Café, tucked behind Walgreens and a UPS store on Platt Street in Hyde Park.
"Keep looking. The maps aren't exactly right," said Sachiko Kunori, co-owner with her husband, chef Kazuhiko Kunori. The couple met working at JoTo on Dale Mabry, where he spent 15 years cooking and she was a hostess while attending college.
Opened Dec. 1, the name Nakaya comes from Sachiko's family name, Nakamura.
A variety of miso soups, including clam and spinach, are menu starters, along with edamame, $4, panko-fried shrimp or salmon, $4.95, and other appetizers.
A daily soup, salad and rice lunch special is $8. Marinated octopus and mountain vegetable salad is already a favorite, as are the octopus bowl, shumai steamed pork dumpling, and seaweed and tofu salad.
There are six dinner specials, all $14, including as tempura shrimp, ponzu beef and chicken katsu, all accompanied by soup, salad and rice.
Beer and wine are expected soon.
Nakaya, at 301 W Platt St., is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Find Nakaya on Facebook or call (813) 251-4234.
Ducky's Sports Lounge gets rolling on Kennedy
Lawyer Dan Alvarez discovered duckpins when he studied in Prague a decade ago. He never stopped telling fellow attorney Keith Goan about the "mini bowling" game, played on small lanes using small balls without finger holes.
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was just as enthusiastic, especially when he heard that Babe Ruth loved the game. The three men, plus four others, invested in Ducky's Sports Lounge, opening Friday on Kennedy Boulevard, east of Howard Avenue.
With four lanes, 20 people can play at a time, said Alvarez, noting the equipment is similar to duckpins, which are no longer manufactured. "Same rules, though, and no special shoes are required."
There are 44 televisions to watch and 28 beers on tap, including house brew Ducky's Lager, made by Cycle Brewery specifically for Longo.
Chef Frankie Midulla's daily lunch and dinner options include pizza, devil crabs, Cuban wraps, asparagus fritters and various chopped salads, including California Dream sprinkled with duck bacon. If his name is familiar, it's because he was the chef of Valencia Gardens and Midulla's.
Ducky's Sports Lounge is at 1719 W Kennedy Blvd. It's open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Visit duckystampa.com or call (813) 254-6160.
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