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DonRocks

Amoo's (Formerly Amoo's Kabob), Chesterbrook - Chef Sebastian Oveysi's Traditional Persian Stews, Rice Dishes, and Kabobs, Now With A Food Truck Too

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I hadn't been to Amoo's in a couple of years, but when I saw that Joe's Gourmet Burgers was on holiday break, I decided to drive the extra mile up to Chesterbrook. In a hurry, I asked for something quick, and the owner directed me toward the stews, which she said would only take about five minutes. The Geymeh ($9.95) was a large portion of food, with decent rice as a base. When I eat Persian stews as carryout, I generally just pour everything on and begin scarfing, so I dumped the whole container of split peas, beef cubes, tomato sauce, saffron, dried lime, and potatoes (frozen french fries) onto the rice, then dumped the yogurt and green hot sauce on top of that. This is a good, hearty dish that's more than enough food for anyone. Obviously, it would be nice if Amoo's had homemade bread, but the packaged version they include is at least thin enough not to be overbearingly dry with the food.

Amoo's is open until 10 PM (worth remembering if you live in the area), seven nights a week, and has free delivery with a $30 minimum. They also offer on-site catering.

And sitting near the door are business cards from Nancy, an eyebrow designer in Vienna.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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I like this place. The kubideh has a real distinct taste compared to Moby Dick's (which has really slipped in the last 3 or 4 years IMO). if only they had better bread.

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I like this place. The kubideh has a real distinct taste compared to Moby Dick's (which has really slipped in the last 3 or 4 years IMO). if only they had better bread.

I agree, they serve an excellent, fluffy, LARGE mound of rice with your kabobs, and the kubideh is tender, juicy and not overcooked. The chicken kabobs are also flavorful and juicy. I'm not a fan of the pile of raw onions, but that's just me, and I really like the grilled tomato, but wish there were more of it. I also like that they take everything off the stick for you, which is not always the case at other places.

The flat, thin bread is a disappointment if you're expecting a fresh piece of naan- or pita-like bread, but they give you quite a lot of it!

Apparently service can be quite slow (they don't seem to have many people working at lunch, anyway), so it might be smart to call ahead for carry out, as we saw quite a few people picking their food up.

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IThe kubideh has a real distinct taste

Does that distinct taste include a bitter aftertaste (the only comparison I can think of is to a thousand year old egg - pi dan)? It actually smells kind of foul to me although the taste isn't as bad as it smells. The chicken kebab and tandoori chicken are okay flavor-wise but not particularly tender. The rice is fluffy but lacks flavor. With a surfeit of Persian restaurants around (Rose, Shamshiry, Moby Dick, ranked in order of preference), unfortunately we are crossing this place off the list. Note: nothing was objectively terrible, it's just that we prefer other places

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Does that distinct taste include a bitter aftertaste (the only comparison I can think of is to a thousand year old egg - pi dan)? It actually smells kind of foul to me although the taste isn't as bad as it smells. The chicken kebab and tandoori chicken are okay flavor-wise but not particularly tender. The rice is fluffy but lacks flavor. With a surfeit of Persian restaurants around (Rose, Shamshiry, Moby Dick, ranked in order of preference), unfortunately we are crossing this place off the list. Note: nothing was objectively terrible, it's just that we prefer other places

I agree with Don's assessment. Been twice but there are other, better options elsewhere. Plus, getting in/out of that lilliputian parking lot off Old Dominion is a challenge. I find it interesting that Irani friends and acquaintances (esp. ladies at Hair Cuttery who rhapsodize about the rice scrapped from the bottom of the pan whilst clipping my auburn locks) are black-or-white opining on the (de)merits of Amoo vs. Shamshiry. Personally, I like Moby Dick for the convenience but Shamshiry is my preference for taste. Though traversing Route 7 these days is no fun.

An old govt hand once based in Tehran claims the Saffron Grill - off Route 7 in Great Falls (in the Calico Corner lot) marinates the meat "authentically," the food is very good and reminiscent of his days in Iran. I have not been to Saffron but it is operated by a former owner of Moby Dick.

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Does that distinct taste include a bitter aftertaste (the only comparison I can think of is to a thousand year old egg - pi dan)?

Might that taste have been from sumac? I find that when used with a heavy hand it can be unpleasant.

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A recent move to McLean and a new bouncing baby boy = take out for the foreseeable future. I found Amoos to be a really passable copy of Shamshiry. That’s meant to be fairly high praise. Good sized portions, meat that was tasty and moist, and a huge bed of rice. The only thing we didn’t care for was the hummus, which was dry and pasty. Anyway, given the location and the taste/quality, I’m not sure why I’d slog my way down route 7 again.

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A recent move to McLean and a new bouncing baby boy = take out for the foreseeable future. I found Amoos to be a really passable copy of Shamshiry. That’s meant to be fairly high praise. Good sized portions, meat that was tasty and moist, and a huge bed of rice. The only thing we didn’t care for was the hummus, which was dry and pasty. Anyway, given the location and the taste/quality, I’m not sure why I’d slog my way down route 7 again.

Moby Dick in McLean is not what it used to be, but I wouldn't completely write off the daily lunch specials just yet.

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On June 14th, after my second straight terrific carryout meal at Amoo's Kabob, I texted RJ Cooper:

"Hey other than the bread, Amoo's Kabob has gotten good. Any of their Persian stews are worth trying."

After a third recent visit this evening, I'm prepared to call their long-cooked Persian stews and house specials "the best Persian cooking in the DC area right now" (my last meal at Rose was very disappointing), and "perhaps the best cooking in all of McLean." Note: I have not yet been to Bistro Vivant.

Amoo himself (Amoo means "uncle") remembered me (from my phone number) on my second visit. Perhaps a gentleman of faith, he politely (and needlessly) bowed and said, "Welcome back, Mr. Don." This evening, I was starving, and ordered two items from their "Traditional Stews" section (the Traditional Stews and Amoo's Specialties sections are where you should be focusing your attention) - Baghali Polo with Mahicheh (Lambshank Stew) ($12.99) and Bademjoon ($11.99). My total bill, along with a 10% tip, was something like $28.50.

I figured I was hungry enough to do some pretty serious damage to both dishes, but the sensational Baghali Polo dish did me in on its own - a huge, on-bone lamb shank in a thin, flavorful tomato-based sauce, ultra long-cooked and fully absorbed by the lima bean and dill basmati rice. This dish, downtown, would be twice as expensive, and not nearly as good - I don't remember the last time I've enjoyed a lamb shank this much. I may nibble and pick at the Bademjoon (a lamb and eggplant stew with white rice), but I'm pretty sure that's what I'm having for lunch tomorrow.

This makes seven different long-cooked dishes I've had at Amoo's recently, and I'm batting seven-for-seven. Amoo himself is an exercise in elegance and politesse, and this has become one of my favorite restaurants in the Arlington-McLean area. The one glaring thing you must overlook is the pre-packaged, matzah-thin pita because if you're expecting great bread, you won't find it here. That said, if you treat the bread (which is similar to that at Shamshiry) as a neutral food scoop instead of a dominator, you'll adapt to it quite nicely - the rice is your starch here.

Get a carryout order of stew, dump the rice in a bowl, pour the Mast-o-Kheyar on top, then dump your stew on top of that. Put the pita in your left hand, a fork in your right, and enjoy this Persian feast. Secrets in this town are few and far between, but this is one of them. Raised to Italic, and, for now, ranked as the #1 restaurant in McLean.

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Thanks, Kibbee for the heads up on the Groupon, and thanks, Don, for the great advice. It's simple, I did what Don told me. I ordered the Gheymeh. I put all the rice in a large bowl. I dumped the yogurt sauce on top of it and mixed it together. I added the stew. I grabbed my shovel, er spoon, and dug in. Delicious and filling (it's the rice). Not nearly as much meat as, say, what you get when you order kabobs, but that's an observation not a complaint (tho I'll always take more meat!). I look forward to using the Groupon i gifted my wife to do it all over again.

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On June 14th, after my second straight terrific carryout meal at Amoo's Kabob, I texted RJ Cooper:

"Hey other than the bread, Amoo's Kabob has gotten good. Any of their Persian stews are worth trying."

Good news for fans of Amoo's Kabob: they got themselves a tandoor, and are now offering homemade bread for $1 a slice. It's about 6-8 inches in diameter, round, surprisingly thick (maybe 1/4-inch), evenly charred, and just wonderful.

I suspect many people in Tysons Corner don't really know about downtown McLean which is going to become a hotbed for independent restaurants in the next 10-20 years. Likewise, I suspect some of the newer residents in downtown McLean (if there is such a thing as a "newer resident in downtown McLean") don't pay much attention to the little community of Chesterbrook, home to Amoo's Kabob.

Amoo (meaning "uncle" in Persian) is an exceedingly humble, polite, gentle man who values his customers, and even goes so far as to bow as a gesture of respect (and I bow right back at him because he is a great person). His food has always been pretty good, but it's gotten better in the past year, and last night was the third consecutive meal I've had there that I would consider to be excellent. For carryout, this is my favorite restaurant in McLean.

If you go online to Amoo's menu, go straight to the "Amoo's Specialties" or "Traditional Stews" section. Every time I go in there, I see a list of hand-written specials next to the register that look even more interesting, and I kick myself for forgetting to ask about then when I call. If you call, and there's a man with an accent on the phone, that's Amoo - ask him about the daily specials, and turn yourself over to his recommendations.

Baghali Polo with Mahicheh ($12.99) has become a mainstay of my carryout rotation. Usually served with chicken, this version contains an entire lamb shank, served on the bone - all you need is a fork to gently remove the long-cooked, tender lamb meat. So often, lamb shanks are tough and tire-like; this is tender, perfectly braised, and delicious. It comes with a *lot* of braising liquid - thin, reddish-brown juices that you pour right on top of the lima bean and dill rice (that's the Baghali Polo part), topping it with the order of thick Mast-o-Kheyar - a yogurt with diced cucumbers which you usually have to spoon out rather than pour. Make sure to ask for the homemade bread when you call; the default is their pre-packaged, paper-thin pita which is just not that good - it is well, well worth the dollar extra (or two, for two pieces) to have that terrific bread with this succulent meal-in-a-bowl. The only knock I have on last night's version was that there was bit of a powdery aspect to the sauce (undoubtedly powdered spice, most likely chili powder) - this could have been a little better integrated, but I suspect most people wouldn't really notice and it's a minor nitpick to be sure.

I can't raise Amoo's above Bistro Vivant in the Dining Guide, but it remains solidly entrenched as the number two restaurant in McLean. This gets a little tricky because comparing it to Tachibana is a fool's errand, and as I type this, I'm wondering if I should raise Tachibana above Amoo's because, after all, my criteria is "where would I choose to go, if someone else was paying for the meal," i.e., if price was no object, and I suppose the answer is Tachibana. And as I type this further, I realize I must raise Tachibana ahead of Amoo's, even though there's no question in my mind as to which restaurant is the better value - McLean is fortunate to have all three.

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Nice review Don, heading there now, over Shamshiry, if nothing more than to avoid the thin bread, hope they have the traditional crunchy rice.

[The pressure is on me!]

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Wow, what a great place. We started with the bread ( which is free for dinners) that is served with butter and a jalapeño relish. We order a side of fried eggplant dip, that went well with the bread. The bread itself is like crack, warm, light, and we quickly went throughbour order. we then ordered two entrees. The lamb shank was incredible, and the dill rice with fava bean superb. There is an dine in option to get half rice and have salad if you want a lighter meal. Claudia had a chicken stew with pomegranate seeds. This had a slightly sweet stew with a chicken breast that was served with white rice. Awesomeness in a bowl. Finally we finished the meal with some house made saffron ice cream with rosé water and some baklava. The ice cream disappeared quickly. This is a family run restaurant, mother cooks, dad oversees and both children wait. The service was excellent, and it looked like they had as many carry out orders as they did diners. We will be back.

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Wow, what a great place. We started with the bread ( which is free for dinners) that is served with butter and a jalapeño relish. We order a side of fried eggplant dip, that went well with the bread. The bread itself is like crack, warm, light, and we quickly went throughbour order. we then ordered two entrees. The lamb shank was incredible, and the dill rice with fava bean superb. There is an dine in option to get half rice and have salad if you want a lighter meal. Claudia had a chicken stew with pomegranate seeds. This had a slightly sweet stew with a chicken breast that was served with white rice. Awesomeness in a bowl. Finally we finished the meal with some house made saffron ice cream with rosé water and some baklava. The ice cream disappeared quickly. This is a family run restaurant, mother cooks, dad oversees and both children wait. The service was excellent, and it looked like they had as many carry out orders as they did diners. We will be back.

You have no idea how happy I am you enjoyed your meal. Seriously. It is high pressure for me to be in a situation like this.

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Eggplant appetizer - delicious, fresh tasting. Reminds me of 'baingan bartha', an Indian dish.

Bread - much better now that they are doing the fresh baked version.

Lamb Shank with Polo Rice - not much more to add, other than the fact that it is clearly enough for dinner and lunch the next day. There was a glistening of a layer of oil, but it tasted so good so I don't mind.

Veg kabob - didn't try it, was for the date, but I have the left over for lunch today. The rice that comes with it is the same polo that came with the shank. There was something adjacent to the rice with a reddish sauce that she loved. I tried it, and think it was eggplant with some sauce, but not sure. Anyone know?

The host/owner, as everyone says, is an absolute prince amongst men. I was on a first date. Though I'd been there before once, we didn't talk much at that time, yet he acted as if I was an esteemed guest and a regular. He came over and was extremely attentive throughout the meal. He enthusiastically recommended the full shank as "the best thing we have". He thanked us profusely. The date was a success :) On the other hand, there was an older woman there (maybe his wife?) who was very much ready to go home and sort of slammed her purse to get us moving along (okay, okay, it was 2 minutes to ten and we lingered to finish the wine we brought).

$45.11 + a very big tip for making me seem like a VIP :)

-S

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The host/owner, as everyone says, is an absolute prince amongst men...

On the other hand, there was an older woman there (maybe his wife?) who was very much ready to go home and sort of slammed her purse to get us moving along (okay, okay, it was 2 minutes to ten and we lingered to finish the wine we brought).

She was the queen. :lol:

Say hi next time (Gormeh Sabzi, Gheymeh Bademjoon, Baghali Rice for me). :)

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The last time I tried Amoos was under the previous management. Based on this thread I decided to try it again. That was last Friday...I've been there three times since. As you all have said, the food is fantastic and the owner is a prince among men. Everything we have had there has been wonderful. I have always loved baba ghanoush, but the eggplant appetizer is on a different plane (surrounded by angels singing its praises). The lamb shank stew was great and even the chicken (both the tandori and the kabob) are a rarity in that they are actually moist. Every time I have been there the owner has thrown in a freebie, one time it was there chicken salad, another time baklava and last time it was the house baked bread.

Alas, this has come at a most inopportune time for me. two weeks ago I just seriously told myself I needed to go back on Atkins and drop some weight, but between the bread and the rice (and free baklava) there it is going to be a real challenge to come home with a naked kabob and a salad

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Thank you, Chef Oveysi, for introducing yourself to the community here. I hope all the readers here will take a couple minutes and read Sebastian's thoughtful and engaging introduction.

Even with all the industry professionals we have as members here, this introduction particularly meant a lot to me.

Cheers,

Rocks

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Hello everyone,

As i am reading the reviews about Amoos from two years ago, i realize that we've changed so much! you need to come in everyone!! The dishes are phonamenal!!

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Chef Oveysi, have you changed the hummus recipe since Dec 2011 (which is when I last had it)? While it may seem trivial, not liking the hummus has been the main reason my family chooses to dine with one of your competitors. Of course, i don't mean to suggest you should change it just for me, I'm only asking to see if we should give it another try.

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