Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mayur Kabab House

We got a comment on our blog from a dear friend who claims that we don’t review any inexpensive restaurants. In response, may I present Kabab House. The full name of this Indian-Pakistani culinary delight is Mayur Kabab House. I don’t know if Mayur is the guy who greets me each time and remembers my order, but whoever he is, he can cook up a mean kabab (or kebob, if you prefer).

When I Say “Kabab”, You Say “House”

First, I would be remiss if I did not mention the “House” part of Kabab House. The restaurant is located on the first floor of this funky European-looking house (think Geppetto’s Workshop) tucked between a church and a condo building. It is also located more or less across the street from our house, making it ultra-convenient on those “I worked 14 hours and there is no way I’m cooking” days.

The interior of Kabab House is, well, interesting. The latest Bollywood music videos blare from a TV on the wall, while fake potted palm trees and strange paintings line the seating area. About a year after we started going to Kabab House they “remodeled” and installed a partition (wall) in front of the entrance and its purpose remains a mystery. A buffet-table sits behind a glass divider and showcases the daily lunch and dinner buffet (bone-in chicken kababs and a variety of veggie side dishes are available for buffet-purchasers). The people who work at Kabab House are among the friendliest I’ve encountered in D.C. and they often remember my name and order. My biggest gripe about the place is their 1980’s-era obsession with Styrofoam. It’s all Styrofoam all the time at Kabab House (cups, plates, to-go containers, etc).

Kabab Your Head

Yes, I’d probably eat most anything that was cheap, located within 2 minutes of my house, and allows me dine in my PJs (this does happen I’m ashamed to say). We are incredibly fortunate that Kabab House has food we actually look forward to eating. I’d even go so far as to say that I often crave Kabab House.

I order the same thing every single time (shocking, I know) while B rotates through the half a dozen lamb dishes. For me, it’s the boneless chicken kabab (ordered “spicy”). The kabab is boneless-skinless chicken grilled and tossed in a spicy orange sauce. While the chicken is good, I really love the side dishes and the giant freshly baked pieces of naan. I can’t tell you what the side dishes are. I’m mostly certain that they are vegetables and 100% certain they are absolutely delicious. I love scooping the veggies and rice onto the naan. It’s a great way to offset the spice of the kabobs. Awesome.

B hasn’t met a lamb dish at Kabab House that he hasn’t liked. His favorite is Rogan Josh although I’m not sure whether he likes it the best or just likes saying the name of the dish over and over. I usually do the ordering when we get takeout and I just make my way down the lamb section of the menu, trying to choose something different on each trip. I rarely remember which one I ordered by the time I get home with the food, so I bet B can’t tell you which dish is which. Not to worry, they’re all yummy.

If you’re on a tight budget, the buffet is a really good value. I would order it each time except I prefer the boneless chicken to the buffet’s bone-in variety. Kabab House also advertises desserts and catering, neither of which we’ve had the opportunity to try.

Second Thoughts from B

I'm not Indian, I've never been to Pakistan, and I probably can't identify half of the things that I eat at Kabab House. However, I can tell you that when you go there, you'll find friendly people who make tasty meals in generous portions, all at a very reasonable price. What more could you want from the place down the street?

However, a note of caution. For those of you who shy away from spicy dishes, the menu may be rather limited. Nothing is so hot that you'll have to fight off tears, but most of their better dishes do have some amount of heat. In my opinion, this adds to the meal but I do realize this is a deal breaker for some.
Mayur Kebab House on Urbanspoon


Dgrub said...

I definitely love Moby's Kabob. My review for best kabobs in DC including Moby Dick is at
I would love to hear any comments on those choices?

David said...

mayur's house used to be one of my favorites, too. however, they've really gone upscale. i can't say i've eaten there since the renovation, so i'm not sure how the facade affects the food. i did walk in after the rally to restore sanity and had to leave because i was too depressed that my hole in the wall had gone so upscale.

J said...

David, Funny you mention the Kabab House 2.0. We walked in last week and were shocked to find a waiter, full bar, dim lighting, and table service. You'll be pleased to know the menu and prices haven't changed. Just look past the new motif and focus on the food :)