Even food writers need to grab a quick meal by the office sometimes. But when we do, we’re a little pickier than our deskmates. While they’re making a Sweetgreen or (gasp!) McDonald’s run, I’m surfing the web trying to find exactly what I’m craving. Sometimes this is more successful than other times. I’ve had my share of sad desk lunches. But this week when I tried K Kabob, I was able to not only report a major success, but share it with my colleagues.
K Kabob stands for Kabul Kabob House. A few days before, I’d had a disappointing meal at an Afghan restaurant that came very highly recommended to me. Was Afghan food in NoVA just going to disappoint me? Nope. I had to stick closer to my everyday surroundings.
When I’m not dining for work, I’m not the type to get two courses at lunch. But when confronted with a $3.95 order of mantu, I’m simply unable to resist. And that’s a good thing. As much as a dumpling can literally explode with flavor, these did. Thin skins gave way to a burst of garlicky, onion-y beef filling made tangy with a pool of yogurt sauce that mixed languidly with a topping of stewed chickpeas. It smelled so good, my colleagues practically demanded a bite. Luckily, there was plenty to go around, even at that laughably low price.
I spent much more on the $14.95 Deluxe Kabob plate, but it was easily enough for two (and perhaps three) meals.The segmented Styrofoam tray had sections for the same chickpeas from atop the mantu, as well as a salad in creamy dressing. In terms of sides, I mostly ignored these in favor of fresh, chewy barbari bread, which I dipped in a cool mint sauce.
The centerpiece though, was a trio of kebabs sitting atop aromatic spiced rice. The lamb kebab was the most lightly marinated, but still meltingly tender. A deep orange chicken kebab, was almost as pillowy but benefited from crisp corners courtesy of the charcoal grill. The sweet garlic of the ground beef shami kebab made it difficult to stop eating, even after I was already full. This was my favorite of the kebabs for its juicy, dense texture that reminded me of Bosnian cevapi. But saving most of it just meant there was more for leftovers. So now, I have double the not-sad desk lunches to enjoy. // 4500 Daly Drive, Chantilly
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