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Sure, you’ll see the familiar poster of the Kronos lady with the gyro, but make no mistake, Kabob House is affirmatively an Afghan restaurant and take-out joint. (The “Free Afghanistan” poster should put to rest any concerns that this is your run-of-the-mill Greek gyro outlet.) Taking over Pizzeria Paradiso’s former tiny second-floor space in Dupont Circle, the Northern Virginia-based chain recently opened up its first District location, bringing Afghan cuisine to the heart of the P Street strip.
I didn’t try the gyro platter, but why would I when there’s quabili palau? Chunks of seasoned lamb sit on a bed of rice with fried sweet carrots and raisins, plus a side of spinach. It’s very good, along with the kadu chalau, where sautéed pumpkin is topped with yogurt and served on rice with sprinkled mint. If you have a big appetite, don’t be afraid of the Super Jumbo platter, which comes with a variety of kabobs, including the quabili palau. It’s the most expensive kabob platter on the menu ($16.75), but you won’t leave hungry. After a handful of visits, I’ve never left unsatisfied.
Kabob platters come with a choice of sides. Of those options, I’ve come to like the spinach (sabzi) and the pumpkin (kadu), where chunks of the sweet squash sit in a bath of orange-colored goodness that’s similar to the consistency of apple sauce. If you order the pumpkin as a separate side dish, it’s a nice warm starter before your kabob is ready. I know I’ll be craving Kabob House’s pumpkin come fall, when I’ll grow tired of the stuff in its boring autumnal pie form.
While there’s no table service and the space isn’t as charming as the old cozy Pizzeria Paradiso, there’s a warm, jolly atmosphere at Kabob House, from the highly choreographed South Asian music videos playing on a TV set to the staff welcoming customers with “my friend” when ordering. It’s a nice addition to the P Street strip.