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Kibbee Nayee

Kazan, Upscale Turkish in Downtown McLean - Owner Zeynel Abidin Uzun Opened in 1980

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I had not previously eaten at Kazan, but after lunch today I won't repeat that omission from my culinary travels. This quaint little Turkish restaurant is in a strip mall across from Total Wine in McLean. It is nicely furnished with Turkish decor, and it's been open since 1980. The tables out front were occupied by Turkish gentlemen, including the owner, sipping tea and playing backgammon. That scene actually adds to the ambiance of this little Turkish corner of McLean.

I'll note that Kibbee Nayee's heritage traces to northern Syria, so the dishes I grew up eating from my mom's kitchen actually tend towards Turkish rather than mainstream Levantine. Such it was today with the stuffed cabbage, or cabbage dolmas, a lunch special. It was as if my dearly departed mom was in the kitchen. This dish was spot on perfect, with three cabbage leaves stuffed with a mostly beef and lamb stuffing and braised in a tomato-based red sauce, served along side rice pilaf and spicy yogurt. Let this dish join kibbee nayee as my final two meals on this planet.

One of my companions had the Kazan Yogurtlu Special, which is chunks of lamb and tomatoes over pita bread, and my other companion had a special of tilapia stuffed with spinach. Both looked good enough to try on my next visit. Thumbs up all around.

http://kazanrestaurant.com/

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I had not previously eaten at Kazan, but after lunch today I won't repeat that omission from my culinary travels. This quaint little Turkish restaurant is in a strip mall across from Total Wine in McLean. It is nicely furnished with Turkish decor, and it's been open since 1980. The tables out front were occupied by Turkish gentlemen, including the owner, sipping tea and playing backgammon. That scene actually adds to the ambiance of this little Turkish corner of McLean.

I'll note that Kibbee Nayee's heritage traces to northern Syria, so the dishes I grew up eating from my mom's kitchen actually tend towards Turkish rather than mainstream Levantine. Such it was today with the stuffed cabbage, or cabbage dolmas, a lunch special. It was as if my dearly departed mom was in the kitchen. This dish was spot on perfect, with three cabbage leaves stuffed with a mostly beef and lamb stuffing and braised in a tomato-based red sauce, served along side rice pilaf and spicy yogurt. Let this dish join kibbee nayee as my final two meals on this planet.

One of my companions had the Kazan Yogurtlu Special, which is chunks of lamb and tomatoes over pita bread, and my other companion had a special of tilapia stuffed with spinach. Both looked good enough to try on my next visit. Thumbs up all around.

http://kazanrestaurant.com/

Seven more years to go B)

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Monday at 7 p.m. I checked the local traffic conditions on Google Map and found that I can't go north on 495, can't go east nor west on 66, and going south on 495 would be heading back towards work. So I decided to eat locally, in McLean. The problem is there are no places that I really like in McLean. I considered Amoo's but I wanted a cold one and I wasn't sure if they served alcohol. Finally I decided to go back to Kazan.

It's been years. I ordered the special mezze. As soon as I tasted the bland chicken, I recalled having the same experience years ago. On the other hand, the dolma and hummus were good. The rest of the platter was a lot of dairy (the spring roll-like thing was filled with cheese) that were so-so. There was quite a wait between the appetizer and my entree of mixed grill lamb. I looked around and was surprised at how busy this place is. Senior citizens in McLean must love their Turkish cuisine. When my entree arrived, my server told me a piece of chicken was thrown in to compensate for the long wait. Visually I was not too excited to see the one sauce fits all plate. Individually, I didn't care for the lamb chop, the piece of lamb kabob, or the chicken - other than the brown sauce, I didn't taste much flavor. The ground lamb skewer and slices of doner kabob were better.

With this post, I hope I won't forget how mediocre this place is in the future.

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I considered Amoo's but I wanted a cold one and I wasn't sure if they served alcohol.

None on the menu nor none offered when we went.

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We tried Kazan once about 10 years ago and had the same experience you did; decidedly mediocre and overpriced for the mediocre quality. Between the food and having to watch the staff fawn over Newty and Callista, I took them off the list.

The level of choices in Mclean continues to deteriorate (notwithstanding Amoos). Bisto Vivant has gone down hill. I used to go to Tachibanna all the time but the quality there is not what it used to be and the prices have gone up. My favorite places in MClean that serve alcohol are Absolute Thai and Capri. Absolute Thai is one of my favorite Thai restaurants and the in house patisserie are wonderful, if you can wrap your head around the concept of Thai food and French pastry in the same place. Capri is also pretty good, their house made pasta and ragu sauce is killer as are their grilled fish dishes. Gilberts is also ok, they have actually improved over the past few years. They are no Ray's, but not awful either. I frequently go to Gilberts for lunch at the bar and have not been unhappy with their soups, sandwiches and salads.

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This place has been around for 30+ years and I have been going there for a long time; had munch there yesterday.  It took the place of Rudy's and has been able to withstand the changes in downtown McLean, which have not all been good.  Open for special dinners on Thanksgiving, Christmas and some other holidays the food is fresh and consistent.  

Their service is fine  and most of their wait staff has been there for a long time as well.  The owner is almost always there as his son - and I have never had a bad experience or mediocre food.  From appetizers (humus, baba ganoush, Sigara Boregi) to dessert the food, prep and presentation is always fine.  Everything comes with a starter salad, and pita bread with butter.  If you have not been there try a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday as their Turkish specialty, Doner Kabob, is freshly made that day and served over rice or pita bread with yogurt sauce.  They always have a great Orange Baklava, a rose water pudding as well as other items.  The Turkish coffee after dinner will keep you up at night so drink responsibly.

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On 6/17/2017 at 10:08 PM, Ferris Bueller said:

Kazan in McLean, makes fresh Doner Kabob every Wednesday/Friday/Saturday, from scratch.

I had it tonight, and enjoyed it. Of note: Their yogurt is the texture of whipped, garlic pudding (that's a compliment - it's *extremely* thick); the tomato pieces on the Doner Kabob were so pale-pink that, despite how ridiculous it seemed, I bit into a piece to make sure it wasn't smoked salmon (!)

I'd love to see their method of making this, because even though it was made fresh, it still tasted like it was "formed," and I'm not sure how these things are done.

An ample, satisfying portion for $23 - I'd only been to Kazan once in almost twenty years. It's a lovely restaurant inside, and you can tell they take pride in what they do.

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Glad to hear it Don - I have seen them make it, and it is quite a production.  Honestly do not know what the binder is, but they form it and slice it thin once cooked.  I usually have it with yogurt sauce over rice, but if you order it like that they will think I told you to do it. 

You should have referenced you were a "friend" they would have rolled out the deserts and apps in gracious fashion.

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5 minutes ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Glad to hear it Don - I have seen them make it, and it is quite a production.  Honestly do not know what the binder is, but they form it and slice it thin once cooked.  I usually have it with yogurt sauce over rice, but if you order it like that they will think I told you to do it. 

I did. :)

I was offered "rice or yogurt," and asked if I could have both - I said I didn't mind paying extra (but I don't think they charged extra).

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Quite independently from our Fearless Leader and on the heels of Don, we had lunch yesterday after some 20 years!  Very pleasant experience - service was friendly & efficient, one of the very few places in McLean offering quasi-outside seating (albeit facing a parking lot).  Doner kebab was terrific, salad w/o lettuce & a lamb eggplant dish were tasty, several special substitution requests were happily honored.

I don't know why on a whim we decided to go (beautiful afternoon before going to Giant?) nor why we have not returned to Kazan for so many years.  Happy we did & it was a reminder to remedy the absence by going again soon.

 

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So, to be clear, the doner kebab is available every day, but is made fresh only on Wed/Fri/Sat/?

I live less than 5 minutes from this place and have never gone. I guess I'll have to change that.

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3 hours ago, wristband said:

Quite independently from our Fearless Leader and on the heels of Don, we had lunch yesterday after some 20 years!  Very pleasant experience - service was friendly & efficient, one of the very few places in McLean offering quasi-outside seating (albeit facing a parking lot).  Doner kebab was terrific, salad w/o lettuce & a lamb eggplant dish were tasty, several special substitution requests were happily honored.

I don't know why on a whim we decided to go (beautiful afternoon before going to Giant?) nor why we have not returned to Kazan for so many years.  Happy we did & it was a reminder to remedy the absence by going again soon.

I'd only been one time in the past twenty years; before that, it was 1994 (believe it or not, I actually remember this for a fact - when I moved to McLean, our loan officer said Kazan was his favorite restaurant, so that was the first year I tried it).

2 hours ago, Dr. Delicious said:

So, to be clear, the doner kebab is available every day, but is made fresh only on Wed/Fri/Sat/?

I live less than 5 minutes from this place and have never gone. I guess I'll have to change that.

Dr. D, I'm not sure about this, but I did hear a server reciting that it was their house specialty.

Ferris, how do they get that texture? I can't really even describe it - there's something about it that's molded or pressed, but it's not ground - I'm not sure what it is, or how they do it.

Get the garlic yogurt - take home what you don't use (it's thick, and potent).

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I was indeed surprised to learn from the waiter doner kebab was available Monday - he recommended it before asked about availability.  The menu states DK is only available specific days but I was assured it was freshly made - and it was delicious for lunch Monday.

Unclear if it is offered every day or if this past Monday was an outlier.  Dr. D should call first if interested in going to Kazan on an "off" DK day.

Totally agree on garlic yogurt - great accompaniment & taste!

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Doner Kabob as good as ever today for lunch.  Place was 85% full at 1 PM and service was spot-on.  Flanked by hummus, house salad and orange baklava made for an excellent meal, albeit no room for dinner tonight.  Their 38th year in same location, in an area with few non-chain restaurants.

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