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When you walk into Lapis you’ll feel like you have just arrived at your best friend’s house for a delicious, home cooked meal. The family pictures on the wall, exposed brick, framed Afghan maps and artwork, friendly staff, and the wonderful scent of authentic Afghan food combine to give the restaurant a most welcoming and warm aura. D.C. diners have long-since been begging the Popal family to open a restaurant that showcases the food of their heritage, and finally they have responded. Lapis, named after the beautiful national gemstone of Afghanistan, takes over what used to be Napoleon, also owned by the Popal family.

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The cuisine is as stunning as the gemstone for which the restaurant is named. The dishes, drinks and dessert highlight the wonderful flavors of Afghan food, which is characterized by its emphasis on bright, bold flavors that come from using a variety of herbs and spices. I went for brunch and sampled several fantastic items: plump, perfect Afghan dumplings filled with sautéed leeks, drizzled with a split pea and tomato sauce, crowned with dollops of silky strained yogurt and dusted with fresh herbs; spinach samobsa, which have a golden crust and are accompanied by a brilliant, spicy cilantro sauce; pan-fried bread filled with your choice of either sweet and spicy pumpkin puree, an earthy, fragrant leek and cilantro blend, or mashed potatoes; crispy fries served with a spicy aioli; and eggs cooked with sautéed tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

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Dessert choices are as delicious as the savory dishes, with a deep, dark chocolate mousse cake, a light pound cake soaked in a sinfully sweet citrus syrup, and saffron semolina cake. Enjoy bottomless brunch cocktails for $22, with your choice of champagne cocktails made with cardamom syrup, blood orange puree, or pomegranate seeds or bloody marys. Next on the agenda: checking out their dinner menu!

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