Amoo’s House of Kabob

Written by on June 2, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – McLean, Virginia

How I heard of this place: My friend Kit and I have been trying to connect since I arrived on the east coast in mid-March. With our busy lives and travels it proved to be a challenge, but one we were determined to overcome! On this beautiful, early June day, we had a couple of hours to share a meal, joyful conversation and much entertained laughter! Kit’s brilliant idea of dining at Amoo’s gave me an excuse to eat more Persian food! And this one, closer to me than any other I have written about to date. A hop, skip and a jump away, I was surprised and pleased to see the unassuming delicacies enshrined at Amoo’s in a strip mall.

Type of cuisine: Persian cuisine including a variety of rice options – baghali, zereshk, shirin and albaloo polo; khoresht – ghormeh sabzi, ghaymeh; and skewers of grilled meats – chicken, lamb, ground beef (kubideh), steak (barg) and even tender, juicy, grilled salmon. You know it’s Persian when you see Torshi (vegetables pickled in vinegar) and find Doogh on the menu! And without even looking, Kit chose to order the yogurt-based beverage, so I knew we were at home. A limited menu, pure and simple home-cookin’. Truly, the best Persian food I’ve had in Arlington, so far!

Ambiance: A location slightly off the beaten track, the interior is small, yet overloaded with flair! Entering the unassuming store-front with floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and only a block-print, red-lettered sign above, one might worry about the authenticity of Persian food at Amoo’s. The black and white checkered floor pattern against a mirrored right-side wall and marble walls, pillars draped in red fabric, gold picture frames and silver candelabra may look like the owners have to try in order to please their guests, but is quite reminiscent of true immigrant-Persian-style decor; just like Great-Grandma’s house. Upon entry, we are warmly greeted by Maria, the daughter of the owners, seemingly a gentleman in his late 50s and his wife, who is busy preparing the gorgeous meals in the kitchen. She stood behind the counter, putting the finishing touches on take-away orders, but with time to look us in the eyes, introduce herself with a handshake and really make us feel welcome. Our Spanish-speaking server greets Kit, like an old friend (as did the others) and seats us with laminated one-page menus. They exchange greetings and gratitude in Spanish while I look over the menu and the tablescape. Our table, draped in a square of deep crimson linen over the white, and topped with a plastic tablecloth, also hosts a large vase with fresh roses and foliage. A small bread plate is ornamented with a rectangular, re-shaped disposable serviette that disguises our eating utensils (knife, spoon and fork), while a black, cloth napkin sits, upwardly pointed in our short-pillared, water glasses. Our server removes mine by the tip and lays it gently across my lap, before pouring water from her condensation-littered silver pitcher.

What I ordered: A small basket of cut lavash bread is offered to us, with a plate of spicy herb dip and individual packets of butter. We placed our drink orders. Water for me and Doogh ($2.50) without ice for my dining companion. At her recommendation, I ordered exactly what she had: Salmon Kabob ($11.99 each) with baghali polo (additional $3 per person) and went with the half-salad, half-rice option (additional $2 each) seeing as how it was the lunch hour. We were offered a complentary cup of Shirazi Salad (normally $3), diced cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions, seasoned with house dressing. As our plates were being cleared and our meal coming to an end, we were offered hot, black tea ($1.50 each) and presented with a generous slice of white cake, layered with pudding and topped with icing, nuts and a strawberry glaze – for free.

What I loved: The salmon truly takes the cake. The outside crisp and well-seared and seasoned with fresh lemon on the side for additional flavor touches; the inside juicy, tender, fell apart without effort and complemented everything else on my plate. Generous portions paired with melt-in-your-mouth, juicy, tender meat and buttery rice. There was nothing on my plate that disappointed. In fact, I’m only tempted to return and trymore menu items!

Why I loved it: Dining with Kit is the best! I thought I was good at getting things for free, but am nowhere near the level of comfort, friendship and love that Kit shares with the staff at Amoo’s! Outside of my personal connection, the staff is very friendly, the family sweet and warm and sincerely loving, the over-the-top decoratioins done in a genuine effort to create a lavish dining experience and the warm, fresh food made Amoo’s a place to which I will definitely return. Perhaps even frequent.

Cost: Average to high ($6.99 – $13.99 per sizeable lunch entree)

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