Cheap Eats 2007: Ravi Kabob House

A Starbucks across the street from another Starbucks is no longer a strange sight. But one Ravi Kabob across from another? Owner Haji Iqbal says it’s his way of accommodating all the diners who overran the cramped Ravi Kabob I. Fair enough—even if the new place, like its sibling, is flooded with fluorescent light and doesn’t serve alcohol.

Still, there’s no better Northern Virginia place for kebabs than this Pakistani wonder. The bone-in chicken kebab, slathered with tandoori paste, and the kebab karahi, assertively spiced beef molded around a metal skewer, are extraordinary. And that’s just the beginning. From the hot breads fresh out of the clay oven to a terrific lamb karahi—the Pakistan-border dish cooked in a hammered steel wok and shot through with ginger, garlic, and chilies—to the gently spiced chickpea stew called channa and the excellent gulab jamun, two puffy fried balls of dough doused in a clear, sticky syrup, Ravi Kabob is as consistent and good as they come.

For the intrepid, there’s a wonderful dish of lamb’s brains, its texture of soft, curdled eggs set in relief by currylike spicing.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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 Logan Circle.