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Fearless Critic restaurant review
DC
Food
Feel
Price
8.6
5.0
$20
Middle Eastern, Afghan
Counter service

Hours
Daily 11:00am–midnight

Features Outdoor dining
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

www.kabobpalace.net

Arlington, VA
2315 S. Eads St.
Arlington, VA
(703) 486-3535
Kabob Palace
Follow the masses to some good grilled meats

It’s old hat that the best dining advice is often “follow that cab (driver)!” And one is apt to forgive a taxista all of his traffic misdeeds once he’s tipped you off to the Kabob Palace, a true gem of a restaurant near South 23rd Street in Crystal City.

These days the secret is out, though, and several DC food critics have popularized this Afghan hole-in-the-wall in recent years. In fact, Kabob Palace is not one place but two: the original line-order-and-take-out dump crowded with cabbies, and the adjacent “family restaurant” which has only slightly better service and a menu that is no less delicious. Both restaurants have plastered their walls with effusive reviews from local and international media; the rest of the décor is incomprehensible at best: why the Gyros posters and cheap oil paintings of Greek seascapes? Why the ads for Vitamin Water?

And why, while we’re at it, the bowl of iceberg lettuce and ranch that accompanies every main course at the family place? Luckily, if you can overlook the fact that the complimentary end-of-meal tea is served in styrofoam, iceberg is the Palace’s single failure. Everything else we’ve tried has been exemplary, and liable to incite kubideh cravings at all hours.

If kabob is all you’re after (or if you’re at the take-out place, where the options are fewer), the lamb is perfectly tender and coated in sweet spices; the combination platter will allow you to sample the kubideh as well. All mains arrive with rice and a mushed, greasy, but ever-delicious chickpea side, or with spinach. And once you’ve stuffed yourself past sanity, there’s almost always a cab outside. The cab drivers know, after all.

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