In this space, I’ve devoted words to trompo, gyros, and doner kebab. But I don’t think there’s any turning spit I love more when done right than shawarma. And at Haifa Grill in Falls Church, owners Mike Hamadeh and Emilio Naser do it very right.
I know because I am a woman of excess. Despite the fact that it’s not listed on the menu, the counter staff was recently kind enough to carve me off slices of both chicken and beef shawarma for my $12.47 rice bowl. “Tahini or garlic sauce?” asked the gentleman at the register. Both, of course.
There is currently no seating inside Haifa Grill, but there are ample tables on the flower-filled patio. I happily braved the heat to sink my canines into the mix of halal meats. At first bite of the beef, my mouth was awash in spices, with cinnamon the most dominant. Some slices were lean and jerky-like, while others melted with fat. Even better was the chicken, with its aromatic spice rub that offset the crisp segments of skin.
I was able to choose three sides to go with my rice and meat. Hummus at Haifa Grill was ultra-creamy and mild in flavor. I preferred zingy, cool pickles of both red cabbage and cucumber. But the very best bites of the meal were thanks to the sauces. I quickly abandoned the tahini in favor of the electric garlic sauce, by turns sharp and creamy. Even better? The heavily vinegared chile sauce that had accidentally made its way into my takeout container. Legitimately spicy but even more tangy, a swipe of it on the lightly spiced meat (and yes, even the pickles) was an explosion of flavor. All combining for another successful turn with spit-roasted food. 3541 Carlin Springs Rd., Fall Church
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