Kabul Kabob House

The cooked-to-order kebabs are worth the wait.

From June 2006 Cheap Eats

To walk into this small cafe, you'd hardly expect that culinary discoveries await. A lone waiter smiles and silently proffers a menu. A TV in the corner stays tuned to American sitcoms. A few solitary diners unwind over mugs of cardamom-spiked green tea.

Then the food arrives, seducing you with the charms of some of the area's best Afghan cooking. The kebabs are cooked to order and well worth the 20-minute wait; the chicken and lamb are juicy and succulent. The house pilaf is another winner–fragrant rice studded with carrots, almonds, currants, and hunks of lamb that could easily feed two or more. Smaller pleasures include the fried samosas, turnovers stuffed with ground beef and sprinkled with mint, and warm vegetable sides like stewed pumpkin and crushed chickpeas. And don't miss the warm, puffed flatbread with a dipping sauce of cilantro and vinegar.

Skip the carryout menu–it's an Americanized mix of gyros and soups that doesn't include many highlights of the sit-down menu.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.