Cheap Eats 2008: Lebanese Butcher

Why go: How to explain lamb this good at a price this good? Owner Kheder Rabbabeh has eliminated the middleman; he owns not only the butcher shop that adjoins this tiny cafe but also a slaughterhouse in Warrenton.

What to get: The smokiest, fluffiest baba ghanoush we’ve ever tried; marvelous lamb fateh, a kind of casserole of pita chips topped with braised hunks of lamb and thick yogurt; Cornish hens cooked over the grill and sided with rice; tender slices of shwarma served entrée-style with rice or slipped into a round of pita and slathered with tahini.

Best for: Anyone who thinks Lebanese food is dry pita, hummus, and a few grilled meats.

Insider tip: Check the display case next door on your way out; all of the meats can be trimmed to order, and the quality and prices are superior to those of most supermarkets—yes, even the gourmet ones.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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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.