Kabob Bazaar

Written by on May 11, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(kabobbazaar.com) – Clarendon neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: One of my new friends in Arlington mentioned it to me as a place to get good, Persian kabob without having to travel to Tyson’s Corner. A few friends invited me to join them on Sunday evening for dinner at Kabob Bazaar, but I already had other plans. Suffice it to say, it has been on my mind, since.

Type of cuisine: Persian rice and kabobs, including beef, lamb and chicken varieties. Skewers of meat, sometimes with vegetables, always with grilled tomatoes served over rice or bread, as you wish.

Ambiance:  While I joined my friends, seated outside, and did not have the opportunity to peruse the indoor section of Kabob Bazaar, I loved the outdoor patio! Chained in, the small, mismatched tables and chairs allowed for our party of six to be easily accommodated. One green, plastic table with plastic, faux wood center and matching chairs were accompanied by a retro, white linoleum top and silver border. The large, double doors opened up from the restaurant onto the patio, creating what seemed to be an open space that allowed for restaurant furniture to transition between the two areas. The sun glaring above, over the trees that provided shade onto the sidewalk and patio, made it difficult to see the inside, but the darkness, dim lighting and romantic ambiance was apparent. Kabob Bazaar is delighted to serve the Washington D.C. metropolitan area with authentic Persian cuisine since December 15, 1993.Traditional instrumental Iranian music is played lightly throughout the restaurant, allowing customers to be introduced to a small but significant part of the beautiful Persian culture. Paintings displaying people, places, and designs pertaining to the Iranian culture. Samovars, traditional pots used to boil water and brew aromatic Persian tea, are placed behind the bar. Many customers sit at the bar and enjoy the traditional hot tea while socializing.Kabob Bazaar’s delicious kabobs are freshly prepared daily and cooked right before your eyes on our open-fire grill. We also offer delicious daily specials. Our homemade bread is also made to order, crisp and hot in our tanoor clay-oven.”

What I ordered: To start, our table was presented with a basket of warm, fresh baked pita bread, sliced radishes and spring onions, and a bounty of greens (parsley, mint, basil), with small, plastic containers of watery yogurt and dried mint. We had one order for a pitcher of homemade doogh ($7.95) at our table, less carbonated and more thick yogurt, as well as the addition of fresh mint leaves to accompany the dried. For dinner, one dining companion and I shared two dishes. The first, Kubideh Kabob, two skewers of ground sirloin mixed with grated onion and house seasoning, over rice ($8.95) and a side of grilled tomatoes. The second, Jujeh Kabob, marinated chunks of boneless and skinless breast of chicken, seved with rice ($9.45) and grilled tomatoes. Each of us was able to enjoy a skewer of kubideh kabob and four, tender, juicy chunks of chicken. The couple to my left shared the Chicken Soltani, a combination of one skewer of kubideh and one chicken, with rice ($11.75). Continuing to the left, and seated across from me, diagonally, we had one order for the Chicken Shish Kabob, marinated chunks of boneless and skinless breast served with grilled mushroom, green pepper, tomato, and onion, with rice ($10.45). The youngest in our party, and probably the one who has frequented the establishment most, selected the Chenjeh Kabob ($10.45), marinated chunks of prime beef, with zereshk polo (for an additional cost), fluffy basmati rice mixed with saffron and barberries. A friend of mine, visiting from New York happened to walk by while we were eating and encouraged us to try the dessert. It did not take much to convince us. Upon cleaning our plates, I enjoyed the Napoleon ($2.95), phyllo pastry lightly layered with cream and dusted with powdered sugar, served on a plate drizzled with chocolate. The dining companion to my right selected the only American dessert on the menu, a Chocolate Mousse Cake ($5-something), a light, chocolate mousse atop a thin layer of moist cake, decorated with chocolate curls and set atop a plate drizzled with chocolate sauce. Seated across from him, we had one order for the Persian Ice Cream ($3.75), homemade ice cream flavoured with rose water and saffron and mixed with pistachio nuts. The final order was for the much-tooted and highly praised Combination Delight ($4.95), a combination of the ice cream and paludeh (Paludeh Shirazi, rice noodles boiled in syrup, mixed with crushed ice, flavoured with rose water and served with lemon juice).

On a return visit, Saturday, May 14, 2011: Needing a quick bite before heading from Arlington to The Mall in Washington, DC, where four of us planned to visit several museums, and eat our share of DC along the way, we found ourselves back at Kabob Bazaar. On this visit, one dining companion and I shared the Chenjeh Kabob ($10.45), marinated chunks of grilled, prime beef, with rice. To accompany that, we also ordered a large bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup ($4.95), a Persian chicken soup mixed with carrots, fresh herbs, potatoes, corn, and noodles. The soup was perfectly Persian, flavored with a generous amount of fresh squeezed lemon juice and an abundance of herbs. One of our two dining companions ordered the Kubideh Kabob with rice. The second opted for the Barreh Kabob ($10.45), chunks of marinated prime lamb, with rice.

What I loved: Of the dinner, I really enjoyed the jujeh kabob most, moist and tender, juicy and well-marinated. The rice was fluffy and perfectly prepared. The warm bread and presentation of the basket were a welcome embrace and created the best mini appetizer to whet our appetites before the meals arrived. The desserts, all of which I sampled, were, each one, sweet and delicious. My Napoleon was light and not too dense or sweet. The mousse, creamy and fluffy, yet full of chocolate goodness. The ice cream and paludeh, sweet, and rose-scented made for a surprise, as I was giving them a chance, but prepared for preferring my own. In fact, I wanted to take another bite, and another! Even the doogh was surprisingly good!

Why I loved it: The portions are more manageable than many Persian kabob houses, and the opportunity to share still exists! The low cost and convenient location, great company and friendly staff make for a winning combination!

Cost: Low to average ($9-$15 per dinner entree)

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