Say Salaam to Kabob Palace

With so much focus on the Middle East these days, why not get a taste of their culture? Fortunately, the international flair of Washington, D.C., has provided a gateway for places like Kabob Palace to bring their delicacies all the way from Afghanistan to you.

At first glance, Kabob Palace Family Restaurant, located in Arlington’s Crystal City, seems too simple to be good. However, once you’ve been seated at one of the admittedly cheap looking tables and perused the menu, you’ll notice that the simplicity is reflected in the dinner prices as well. The average entrée is $10 or less. Of course you’re thinking that $10 can’t possibly buy you a good dinner.

On the contrary, the menu is made up of an assortment of various kabobs and combination platters, including a delicious lamb and boneless chicken ensemble. Along with the platter comes basmati rice, salad with ranch dressing (tell them beforehand if you’d like to pass on the ranch) and a choice between seasoned chickpeas and spinach. Last but not least comes the Afghan bread, which is handmade in a clay oven as you wait for your meal and is absolutely exquisite in taste.

The menu does not only offer meat platters, but also traditional dishes like my personal favorite, okra stew, which also comes with rice, salad and your choice of vegetables. The okra stew is rich in seasonings and spices, so if curry isn’t your favorite thing on the menu, go for a simple beef kabob. To get the full cultural experience, add a little sumac, which is conveniently placed in a little jar on every table.

Although the menu selection is mouth-watering, the preparation takes a while, so if you’re exceptionally hungry, try a few of the traditional appetizers, including a delicious “must-o-kheyar” (yogurt and cucumbers) or samosas. Don’t pass up tasty starters for fear of not being able to finish your meal. With the large servings that the meals include, chances are you may not be able to clear your plate anyway. The server will kindly offer you a to-go box for leftovers.

So at the end of your meal, you’re content: Your hunger is satisfied, you may have some leftovers and your check doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. So the next time you hear talk of Afghanistan in the news, pay Kabob Palace a visit. It’s a lot more pleasant than what’s going on over there anyway.

Kabob Palace Family Restaurant 2333 S. Eads St. Arlington, VA 22202 703-979-3000

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