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Simit and Kabob, Fairfax - Closed.


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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Simit and Kabob is a hole-in-the wall restaurant and tiny Turkish grocery store located very close to China Star, in an adjacent shopping center, right next door to the Giant Food.

The hearty Turkish classic manti is a ground-meat-stuffed pasta, utterly slathered in a yogurt sauce and with enough garlic to keep vampires away from your door (they sell this frozen as well). Try this if you need to gorge on comfort food - if you eat a lot of it, you get The Full Manti.

Homemade dorma are delicious stuffed green peppers, served with rice and yogurt and exquisitely seasoned with mint and hoodoo. I don't want to hear about your grandmother's stuffed peppers, because these are better and more satisfying.

The Iskender Kabob is sliced doner with broken-off hunks of homemade bread, served with a tomato sauce and drenched in yogurt (a lot of things here are drenched in yogurt, and it's really good yogurt, too, lending a false sense of lightness to the dishes).

And then there are the simits - the only simits I've seen in the Washington area (actually, the only simits I've ever seen in my life). Granted, a simit (pronounced like "submit" without the "b") isn't much more than a giant sesame-seed bagel, and I think they're a big waste of calories, but still, it's a much more original and daring choice than lumbering into the terrible Einstein Brothers Bagels which is but a stone's throw away.

Today, there was The Ultimate Daily special, scrawled on a piece of paper with black magic marker, and without a price next to it. This piqued my curiosity in a big way:

"So can you tell me about the Eleman Araniyor?" I asked the gentleman behind the counter.

He shrugged his shoulders and smiled, "It means help wanted in Turkish."

At that point I clamped up and ordered, and was grateful for this little hole-in-the wall Turkish enclave, where little old ladies in scarfs are shuffling around behind the counter, moving from microwave, to cauldron, to tending their children, to ringing the register, to serving dine-in customers. (Okay, so they're not that little, and not that old, but it makes for a good story, don't you think?)

Free delivery ($10 minimum), authentic Turkish food, as informal as a family picnic, a destination grocery store for the local Turkish population, right in the heart of the Fairfax/Annandale Little River Turnpike corridor. There is very little not to like here - especially when you order the daily specials handwritten below the regular menu. I'm not a huge fan of the stuffed breads I've tried here, even though they aren't your standard Turkey-(g)on(e)-(a)wry (they have boreks, pohacha, etc.)

And Simit and Kabob is probably the only place in town where you can buy a metoo candy bar and a hookah.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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It's a bit late in the (lunar) month, but Simit and Kabob is offering a special $9.99 menu through tomorrow, November 2nd, the last day of Ramadan:

Tavuk Sote (cubed chicken in tomato sauce)

Pilov (rice)

Gorba (soup)

Sutlac (rice pudding)

Kutu Cola

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Lahmahjoon looks an awful lot like the Turkish Lahmacun which is the original PIZZA (at least according to many people I met in Turkey).

Am I correct that they'd be related?

Yes, they're basically the same thing, and I had a darned good Lahmacun today at Simit and Kabob for $3.99. The dough was hand-rolled right in front of me, and is so thin that it can bake in about five minutes.

A squirt of lemon raises this tasty little snack to another level.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Years ago, Simit and Kabob used to devote a large portion of their space to stocking Turkish grocery needs, housewares, and imported figs and nuts. A couple of years ago, those items were dispersed to two new satellite operations, Amity Halal Meat & Grocery (or website in Turkish) on Lee Hwy in Fairfax, and Lezzet Market in Rockville (Nelson St., next door to Hard Times Cafe).

The Rockville location, which is currently only a grocery, is finishing its permits and expects to have a kabob cafe operating in the front of the store, possibly by early June. Huzzah!

Also gleefully noted: Lezzet Market carries fresh handmade mantı in their refrigerator section. And occasionally, fresh böreği.

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I'm sorry to say that Simit and Kabob no longer exists, at least not in the Turnpike Shopping Center. At least two-thirds of that strip mall is now vacant, and Combined Properties says that it will be "undergoing a major redevelopment that includes the addition of a national grocer." Combined Properties owns a surprising amount of real estate in this area (click), and at least in this instance, it appears that the "little guys" might have been shown the door.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I'm sorry to say that Simit and Kabob no longer exists, at least not in the Turnpike Shopping Center. At least two-thirds of that strip mall is now vacant, and Combined Properties says that it will be "undergoing a major redevelopment that includes the addition of a national grocer." Combined Properties owns a surprising amount of real estate in this area (click), and at least in this instance, it appears that the "little guys" might have been shown the door.

Cheers,

Rocks.

They moved before the Giant closed, so they managed to beat most of the exodus from the shopping center. It wasn't very far, but I don't remember exactly where they went to, and I can't find any mentions of their current location (if they are still in business) online. If anyone spots it, please let us know!!

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