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lindzjax

Tash - Persian and Middle Eastern Kabob House on 8th and E Street SE, Barracks Row - Closed

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A new neighborhood kebob spot from the folks behind Nooshi and (I think) Moby Dick. Soft opening tonight for neighbors with 50% off of all checks. Lovely decor and a small but tasty menu... Reasonable prices. "Fast casual" with table service and a full bar. A good addition to the neighborhood. Look forward to the Nooshi-esque concept opening upstairs from it in coming months.

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I ran into friends yesterday who had eaten here and when I replied, "The kabob place?" they recoiled and said that it wasn't a kabob place. They had a great meal here and had no kabobs. One of them specifically recommended the calamari, saying the breading wasn't too thick. They also mentioned salad, hummus, and several other items that have faded into memory.

So, I decided to check it out and, indeed the breading on the deep-fried saffron calamari ($8.95)i is adequate but not thick. This was served in a very large metal container, similar to an old milkshake shaker. At first I was afraid I had gotten a gigantic order, but as I ate, I realized that the calamari were sitting on a drain that emptied into the rest of the canister. They were pale and a little greasy but nothing to complain about. The tomato sauce served alongside was all right but didn't elevate the calamari. I think I liked them better without the sauce.

After consulting with the bartender about the difference, I got the Tash wings ($6.95). These were one bone wings (not the drummette part) marinated in cilantro and lime. The drummettes are coated in sauce and have cilantro and lemon. The Tash wings were good but they seemed so small compared to what I think of as chicken wings, I wasn't sure what to think. They were very crusty on the outside and the meat moist and juicy. Bottom line: the chicken from these was very good, but the medium left me a little unsure.

I also ordered lamb tenderloin kabobs ($16.95). These were five very juicy tender chunks of tenderloin that had been marinated in yogurt and mint. I could taste the mint as I ate them. Having seen someone complain on yelp about these arriving well done, I specifically ordered them medium rare, and they more or less came out medium rare. I love calamari and chicken wings generally (which is why I ordered them), but I loved this lamb most of all.

The lamb came with a dill herbed rice that was way too herbed. The rice had a few baby limas in it, which just didn't seem to work. They were lost. There were very few of them and, since I couldn't recall the menu description, at first I thought they were slices of scallion or something, but they didn't have much flavor. Then I realized what they were. This dish was served with small sides of tabbouli (which I would have loved to be bigger) and a yogurt sauce.

Service was very attentive. I had a bit of a respiratory problem at one point, and a bunch of people looked worried and came over towards me. Someone in management asked me about my meal, so I mentioned that I thought that the rice was overly herbed. He told me that I could order white basmati rice with saffron instead.

My husband would like this restaurant, so I plan to be going back there with him when it fits his schedule.

With a $6 draft Stella, this meal clocked in at just under $40 before tax and tip.

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My husband would like this restaurant, so I plan to be going back there with him when it fits his schedule.

After an unfulfilled attempt to eat at Ninnella last night, my husband and I headed over to Barracks Row and Tash. He did, indeed, like the restaurant and its food. Again, the lamb was the overall winner but the entire experience was positive. A couple of employees remembered me from my previous visit and everyone was pleasant to deal with. They have cultivated a comfortable environment here. There is blackboard paint on the walls at the front of the restaurant and people can write what they want. I heard someone asking for chalk last night.

We started with an order (3?) of the delicious deep-fried pilazhki ($7.95), which had lamb, mushrooms, and (I think) cheese. (I didn't take notes this trip and there's no online menu.) That won the appetizer round, though the crispy chicken drums (also $7.95) were decent. They were served with a cilantro, lemon, and red onion sauce that was sharp and bright and almost addictive. My husband was eating the sauce alone after the chicken (5 pieces, I think) was gone. The chicken could have been a little more tender, but I think I enjoyed this chicken wing dish over the one-bone type I ordered before.

He opted for the lamb tenderloin kabobs ($16.95) I had last time, while I explored the lamb kubideh ($14.95). These minced meat cigars were assertively spiced but not overly so. He loved the minty kabobs (I only got half of one piece), and consumed almost two little ramekins of yogurt sauce. I remembered finding the Persian dill and lima rice from last time overly herby and substituted saffron rice instead. My husband got the default dill/lima rice and thought it was fine, so I guess it's just me :ph34r: .

Pro tip: Set your knife blade side down when at rest so it doesn't go toppling onto the table (or floor, as happened to me last trip). The blade is at a right angle to the handle, which looks cool but makes the knife unstable when laid down on top of something on its side.

Mea culpa: After getting to the third restaurant within half an hour where I couldn't figure out where to find a host or someone to ask about a table, I ended up inadvertently cutting in front of the nice people who held the door open for us as we arrived right behind them. I realized it once we were sitting down and tried to make apologetic gestures, but I don't know if they conveyed. There was a table for them also, so I didn't feel as bad as I would if they had to wait, but maybe they would rather have had the table we got. So, if you're out there...sorry!

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Bob returned last evening from nearly 5 weeks in Portland, Oregon, and we celebrated with a late dinner at Tash. I don't have much to add from Pat's description of the lamb kubideh or the piroshki--both were fine dishes, though I found the herbed lima bean rice accompanying the kubideh to be rather blah. Bob had the veggie flatbread ($9.95) which was a sizable round with a savory tomato sauce, eggplant, zucchini, onion, and raw radishes. The flavor was good enough to forgive the somewhat soggy crust. On Mondays, all drinks are half-price, and so Bob enjoyed a well-made old-fashioned, while I went for a gin-mint-cucumber drink whose name escapes me, but was refreshing on a sultry night and HUGE.

Tash strikes me as a place that isn't offering revelatory food but is nevertheless a pleasing alternative to some of the other sheer mediocrity that plagues some other Barracks Row restaurants. The atmosphere is creatively designed, this first sample of food and drink seems solid, service was pleasant and not too rushed even though we showed up not long before the kitchen closed. I look forward to going back.

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Tash strikes me as a place that isn't offering revelatory food but is nevertheless a pleasing alternative to some of the other sheer mediocrity that plagues some other Barracks Row restaurants. The atmosphere is creatively designed, this first sample of food and drink seems solid, service was pleasant and not too rushed even though we showed up not long before the kitchen closed. I look forward to going back.

I quote myself because a return visit for brunch on an unusually warm/humid Sunday reinforced this opinion. I don't know if it was because of the shutdown, but beyond the patio, the restaurant was empty, so we took a booth near the front. Both of us had bloody marys--$4 each during brunch--which were LARGE, hand- (not pre-) made, and entirely respectable. It seems like a stupid thing, but this had perhaps the freshest, crispest celery stalk I've ever encountered in this drink. Bob opted for the shashuka--a small skillet of flavorful tomatoes, onions, and peppers, with two perfectly poached eggs--which came with two roasted baby potatoes, mint yogurt sauce, and a long piece of pita bread ($8.95). The chicken kubideh with eggs ($9.95) was like two moist links of sausage, nicely seasoned with pistachio, cilantro and garlic, accompanied with two eerily perfect sunny-side-up eggs. What was notable was the presentation--a foot-wide soft flatbread round on a footed foot-wide platter, with a nice radish salad, a luscious grilled tomato, and a good-sized dollop of hummus. The bread itself was a bit bland, but made the perfect foundation for the generous serving.

This may not be the best or most nuanced Persian food you'll find in town, but it's nevertheless pleasing, and an outrageous bargain. Right now, Tash would be at the top of my list of the best cheap eats on Barracks Row, particularly when one factors in the great drinks specials--much more flavorful than Cafe Med, cheaper than Cava--and all in a stylish atmosphere, heads above either of those places (well, maybe not the back patio at Cafe Med).

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Visited last night as part of dining in DC, part 2 (part 1 was at Flight Wine Bar).  We enjoyed the food.  I'll just summarize my thoughts:

*Mr. lovehockey got the beef kubideh and I got the chicken kubideh, which turned out well because they're easy to share.  Personally, I think they should do a chicken/beef combo.  The chicken was spicier than the beef, but we liked them both.  For $12.95 each, they were generous dishes.

*The ice cream was unique and tasty, but of a size that it's best shared.

*Service was good until near the end, when the waiter was busy taking care of other tables and the hostess ended up getting the check for us.  But I noticed that our table wasn't the only one where the waiter would ask "shots?" to those who were at the possible dessert portion of the proceedings.

*For a Saturday at primetime, it wasn't as busy as I thought it should be.  On the other hand, Barracks Row itself wasn't teeming with foot traffic, although some places looked fuller than others.

It's a good option along Barracks Row if you're looking for good food and bar selection.

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I'll take Rob Weland over Tash any day of the week.  Tash was fine but just fine.   We experienced bad service from an indifferent staff one time too many to keep it in the rotation.

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I'll take Rob Weland over Tash any day of the week.  Tash was fine but just fine.   We experienced bad service from an indifferent staff one time too many to keep it in the rotation.

Yes, I won't argue that Tash was great, but it was better than most of the inexpensive options on Barracks Row (Las Placitas, Banana Cafe, Cafe 8, etc.). What I don't want is another middling midprice restaurant like Senarts or Chesapeake, or a local chain like Matchbox or Cava (and how Belga and Lavagna ranked so high in the City Paper poll is beyond me).

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I agree that the last thing 8th street needs is another mediocre restaurant with the same menu as three other places in two blocks or a local chain eating up long timers (I'm looking at you Matchbox).  But we know that a high quality chef is moving in so I have hope that it will be a worthy replacement.  

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