Cheap Eats 2015: Kabul Kabob House

Where we go for our favorite ground-beef skewers.
Cheap Eats 2015: Kabul Kabob House
Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Afghan cuisine, typically rich with meats and yogurt sauces, is served with a surprisingly delicate touch at this spare strip-mall cafe. The fried beef-filled pastries called sambosas emerge with a wonton-like lightness and a dusting of dried mint, while eggplant borani has an elegant, silky texture beneath its cloak of garlicky yogurt. Even the hearty qabili palow conveys a softness, with tender hunks of lamb buried in a heap of rice, sweet carrots, and raisins. A few caveats: Though the place’s name emphasizes kebabs, an herb-and-onion-studded ground-beef skewer is the sole star of that otherwise standard lineup. And if lingering in a dim room outfitted only with a TV and a fish tank isn’t appealing, know that most dishes travel well. That’s not to say the welcome isn’t warm—complimentary green tea accompanies the meal, along with bowls of citrusy cilantro sauce and made-to-order rounds of pillowy naan.

Cuisine: Afghan

Where you can get it: 514 Van Dorn St., Alexandria; 703-751-1833

Also good: Aushak, leek dumplings topped with yogurt and ground beef; dal chalou, a garlicky lentil curry; baklava.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.