City Paper is not for tourists
The Dish: kabob burger
The Location: Hungry Tiger, 4624 Wisconsin Ave. NW, (202) 244-0909
The Price: $7.95
The Skinny: The logo for Hungry Tiger features a big cat doing its best Bobby De Niro stare. The beast licks his lips while holding a fork in one paw and a knife in another. A bib hangs from the animal’s neck. The sign doesn’t exactly say, “Eat here.” More like, “Dude, you look like tiger food to me.” Owner Ali Eshghi says there’s no symbolism behind the tiger or the logo; it’s just the brainchild of his partner’s son. The Iranian-born Eshghi used to own Murasaki, the Japanese restaurant just up the street, but now he’s back on more familiar turf with Hungry Tiger, which opened in March and serves up a kabob-heavy menu. Still, Eshghi’s no fool. He knows Americans love their burgers, and his casual eatery, with the tiger-striped walls, offers its own version. Chef Nima Jaberizadeh‘s sandwich is really a burger in name only. Unlike the real thing, you can’t order it rare or medium-rare; the onion-laced kabob meat comes, as always, well done, which arguably is a crappy way to treat 100 percent Angus sirloin. The gyro-like concoction proves to be a monstrous bite, almost untamable by human hands. The pock-marked flatbread, a small landmass of dough baked in a blazing-hot tandoor, engulfs the ingredients, not unlike a masala dosa swamps its potato filling. Even trickier, the flatbread goes from soft and spongy to matzo-crunchy in minutes flat, so you have to eat this thing fast before it starts to crumble. Which is not a problem. Just apply the green-pepper-puree condiment to your desired heat level, and you’re ready to rip. The heat helps to cut through the grassy taste of all that chopped parsley, not to mention the crackerlike quality of the flatbread coffin. It also mixes well with the juicy, savory kabob patty, quickly turning me into one ravenous animal.