Thursday, October 22, 2009
tasty kabobs at Courthouse
The Afghan Kabob House is between a post office and a printing shop, across from Wendy's, about 100 yards from the Courthouse Metro. Not exactly a location that screams ethnic authenticity. Moreover, the Kabob House is clean, has a spacious dining space with a cafeteria feel, and is professionally and efficiently run. It offers free wi-fi service. An ethnic dive this isn't.
But the kabobs are magnificent. I had some tender, beautifully spiced, lamb kabobs and a couple of pieces of very tasty chicken breast kabob. Moreover, I got talking to a guy named Dale. He had lived in Afghanistan. He said that this place serves the real thing. It's a lot more convenient to go to Courthouse than to Afghanistan. But I'd say either is worth a trip for kabobs this good.
The kabobs come with Tandoori Nan, an Afghan bread that has a bit more body than its Indian relative. You choose from four kinds of rice (brown rice, curry rice, rice mixed with some spinach, and rice mixed with raisins and shredded carrots). In addition, you get a choice of hummus or salad and a portion of vegetables. I had eggplant and an extra side of cauliflower. Both vegetable dishes had delicious, exotic flavors.
Prices are reasonable. My lamb kabob meal was $10.95, before tax. You can get the boneless chicken breast kabob meal for $9.95. Extra side portions are $2.25 each. You pay for your food and pick it up at the counter, hence there isn't a waiter that you have to tip.
Owner Akbar Madany opened the Kabob House in the spring of 2009. He has thirty-years experience in management for large restaurant chains. He got fed up with being treated like a cog in a corporate machine and decided to strike out on his own. He says he feels quite alone running his own restaurant without corporate support (corporate support is the appealing aspect of the corporate mold). But he's not an owner isolated in a back office. Yesterday night he was behind the counter, taking orders, serving food, supervising his crew, and chatting with customers. He has established the Afghan Kabob House as a highly professional business, serving authentic ethnic food with the personal care of a small business. You don't often find this kind of restaurant.
For a tasty, quick, reasonably priced, healthful meal, go to Afghan Kabob House. Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11am to 10pm, Fri-Sat, 11am-3am, Sun 12pm-9pm. That's right, it's open until 3am on Friday and Saturday, so this is where to go for a late-night kabob run. Call 703 294-9999 for take-out. Delivery and catering also available. Free wi-fi. Address: 2045 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA 222901.