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The Lebanese Butcher, Owner Khader Rabbabeh's Lebanese Restaurant and Market on Annandale Road - Closed Due To Fire


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I've stopped going to any Lebanese Tavernas, except the "express" one in Congressional Plaza in Rockville (because my mother, who lives there, likes it).

Instead, I'm now devoted to the consistently good and MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant on Annandale Road in Falls Church:

http://www.lebanesebutcher.com/

My only warning is that this place is very much a hole-in-the-wall haunt of Muslim men, which can be somewhat off-putting for a non-Muslim woman who wants to dine-in on her own. I always go in with a book and focus on the page as I eat, do my best to ignore the curious, sometimes hostile glances from men at the other tables. More often I just take away. The food is good enough to keep patronising the place despite the odd vibes. I'm not sure what troubles them more - a woman dining out alone, or a Western woman invading their space.

Actually, since the place has been written up in the Post, Washingtonian, etc., the vibe has got somewhat less weird as the long-time patrons have had to get used to a diverse variety of interlopers. I guess I was just a pioneer, as I've been going there almost since it opened. And keep going back.

Karen Mercedes

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Instead, I'm now devoted to the consistently good and MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant on Annandale Road in Falls Church

I had the Lamb Shish Kabob ($12.95) at Lebanese Butcher for lunch today. It was as it always is: great. Two skewers of deeply flavorful (overcooked) lamb, a pile of rice, grilled peppers, onions, decent tomato, some minced onion with ground sumac, wickedly good garlic-laden hummus-like dipping sauce - everything but the pita, which they forgot to pack with the order. Cooking here is slow, so it pays to call in advance for carryout. Lebanese Butcher even has their own slaughterhouse out in Manassas, so the meat isn't just Halal; it's tightly controlled the whole way through the operation. Carryout cuts at the meat counter next door run the entire gamut, from sirloin to lung. (By the way, the owner once told me that hunters can take their own deer into Manassas and they'll butcher it).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Thanks for that review, Rocks, I was wondering if they did take out.

Yum, I think I'll be calling them for takeout in the near future! That'll give me a chance to see what else they have on any kind of a menu too! Best of all, it's a neighborhood place!

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I'll be in Falls Church for a lunch meeting on Monday, at another place (not my choice), but I'll stop by Lebanese Butcher for dinner carry-out. I love the food there and my Board moniker should suggest an affinity for Middle Eastern food.

My two clear faves in northern Virginia right now -- and I've hit them all -- are Lebanese Butcher and Mediterranean Gourmet Market on Franconia Rd.

There is a Palestinian place near Skyline in Alexandria that is close behind....the name escapes me....

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Happy to report that the chicken shwarma sandwich at lunch is about the best I've enjoyed this side of East Jerusalem, and yes, East Jerusalem was where I enjoyed the best shwarma I ever ate. I intend to scale that menu item by item over the not too distant future....

And Altus, if you need someone to sit with to deflect the attention of the men, you have a willing lunch date in Kibbee Nayee.

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I've had only a few items from the restaurant -- a falafel sandwhich stands out in my memory as being extremely savory and hot (as in temperature). Sometimes it seems falafel is pre-made and just tossed on pita, so I really appreciated it being hot.

I also love the butcher shop next door. I've done a variety of things like cheese, bread, ground beef, even some veggies. Once when I ordered the ground beef, they asked if I wanted spices added, and even went so far as to shape them into little kabob patties for me! Another time I bought a leg of lamb they deboned for me. I think I shocked them by declining the bones and trimmings! (I just wasn't going to have time to do anything with them and had no freezer space). If you go during Muslim holidays, they have a lot of prepared food you can just take home and warm up. And it's 1/2 the price of the LebTab market right near our house. You do have to have trust the lady ringing you up is doing it fairly, because the receipt is undecipherable, not your typical grocery receipt where the name/price/weight of an item is displayed. Not a complaint, just an observation. And I also sypmathize with Altus on feeling a bit conspicuous, even in the butcher shop. But I do love this place and am thinking I should drive out of my way more often!

Finally -- baba ghanouj as baby food? Brilliant! We're taking our 7mo old to Turkey next week, and I've been wondering what we'll feed her. I know it will work out fine, but that post just helped allay my concerns :lol:

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Has anyone purchased a whole lamb from this establishment? I am considering it.

Finally -- baba ghanouj as baby food? Brilliant! We're taking our 7mo old to Turkey next week, and I've been wondering what we'll feed her.
Lebanese food is great for little ones. My daughter has loved hummus and baba ghanouj since before she had teeth. She loved the garlic and spices - baby food is usually sooo boring. :lol: She also enjoyed nomming on pita.
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Has anyone purchased a whole lamb from this establishment? I am considering it.

Lebanese food is great for little ones. My daughter has loved hummus and baba ghanouj since before she had teeth. She loved the garlic and spices - baby food is usually sooo boring. :lol: She also enjoyed nomming on pita.

I have not but have been there when people have picked up their whole lambs and they look very nicely cleaned. It is a great butcher shop that frequently advertises whole lamb and whole goat during the Muslim holidays for what seems like pretty reasonable prices. I recall seeing a whole goat advertised for $70 at one point which included the butchering.

We love the kafta meat here as well as anything they've got marinating. The kafta is only $2.50 a pound and seems to be made rather frequently because it seems that they are making a fresh batch just about every other time I order it.

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I think the lamb that agm and NotQuickDraw brought to the picnic last year was from Lebanese Butcher.
Well, actually, we bought the lamb from Springfield Butcher. We learned later that they probably got it from Lebanese Butcher. The next lamb (or goat) we'll cut out the middle man.
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Stopped by today and stayed on the butcher side. I picked up a package of kafta and two of the most beautiful shoulder steaks I have ever seen. Both are frozen for later consumption. Also picked up the pre-marinated chicken and lamb kabobs and grilled them on the Ducane at home. How do you say "unfrikkin-believably delish" in Arabic?

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Stopped by today and stayed on the butcher side. I picked up a package of kafta and two of the most beautiful shoulder steaks I have ever seen. Both are frozen for later consumption. Also picked up the pre-marinated chicken and lamb kabobs and grilled them on the Ducane at home. How do you say "unfrikkin-believably delish" in Arabic?

A favorite and super quick fall dish of ours is to get a pound of the marinated lamb kabobs, sear in a hot pan and add a pound of frozen spinach, a couple of cans of garbanzos, and a can of crushed tomatoes. Even better the day after!

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Must report that I had lunch here today because Present was closed for a water pipe break. And what I had for lunch blew my mind.

It was called "chicken and salad" on the special board, for $7.99. So I asked for it. The salad came out first, cubes of tomato, green peppers, onion, mint, parsley -- very fresh and very good. Then came what looked like a buffet on a plate, and could have easily served two very hungry people. It was half of a stewed chicken, with a pile of aromatic yellow rice on one side and a pile of stewed veggies (with potatoes) on the other side, all ringed with pickled veggies (I love the turnips) and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. The chicken was succulent and juicy, and the rice was extremely good. This was an amazing $7.99 dish. I can't imagine how they made any profit on this dish at all. I couldn't finish it all, and I've been enjoying my garlic burps all afternoon.

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The butcher side of the Lebanese Butcher is a gem. They have their own slaughterhouse in Warrenton, so the meat is fresh and they are amazingly patient about giving you the exact cut you want. I once ordered lamb ribs and they went out to the just arrived truck, brought in a whole lamb and hand cut the ribs for me -- they even deboned all the birds for a Thanksgiving turducken, at no charge!

Language can sometimes be a communication problem, but it's well worth the effort, especially if you like goat, which is superb here.

Because of the language, I'm not sure positive about this but I think their chickens may be free range. I asked the son (it's a family shop) if they raised the chickens themselve in Warrenton. He said yes. I asked how they kept them during the day and he seemed puzzled at the question. After a little back and forth, he said, "they just walk around the yard, of course." The prices on their chickens are about the same as Safeway or maybe a little lower.

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After stopping at A. Litteri, Illy CAffe, and GErman Gourmet, my wife spied this while stopped at a traffic light and we popped over. The lamb schawarma was AMAZING. We took it to go and ate it in the car immediately. Wow. And while we waited for that to be made, we wandered the butcher shop and they have great prices and the meats looked wonderful. We also spied on the foods going out to the folks dining in -- and we made the note to get back here....soon.

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After stopping at A. Litteri, Illy CAffe, and GErman Gourmet, my wife spied this while stopped at a traffic light and we popped over. The lamb schawarma was AMAZING. We took it to go and ate it in the car immediately. Wow. And while we waited for that to be made, we wandered the butcher shop and they have great prices and the meats looked wonderful. We also spied on the foods going out to the folks dining in -- and we made the note to get back here....soon.

Let me know and I'll meet you. In fact, this might be a good candidate for a $20 Tuesday...!

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Must report that I had lunch here today because Present was closed for a water pipe break. And what I had for lunch blew my mind.

It was called "chicken and salad" on the special board, for $7.99. So I asked for it. The salad came out first, cubes of tomato, green peppers, onion, mint, parsley -- very fresh and very good. Then came what looked like a buffet on a plate, and could have easily served two very hungry people. It was half of a stewed chicken, with a pile of aromatic yellow rice on one side and a pile of stewed veggies (with potatoes) on the other side, all ringed with pickled veggies (I love the turnips) and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. The chicken was succulent and juicy, and the rice was extremely good. This was an amazing $7.99 dish. I can't imagine how they made any profit on this dish at all. I couldn't finish it all, and I've been enjoying my garlic burps all afternoon.

There isn't much decor at this place, but the food is terrific and a great value! We tried a whole slew of dishes with some officemates, and, other than some slightly dry lamb kabobs, everything (chicken, lamb, ground meat kabobs, felafel) was wonderful. The meat is very tasty and the chicken kabobs were juicy. The sides to the main dishes (not the sandwiches) are plentiful and colorful (veg and rice).

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Another testimonial for the butcher shop...

I finally remembered to stop by the Lebanese Butcher shop yesterday to procure goat (stew meat, with bones). At $4.47 a pound, the meat was cut before my eyes and fresher than I could have imagined. The resulting curry (inspired by Madhur Jaffrey's "Most Delicious Meat Cubes", time increased for larger bone-in meat) was astoundingly delicious, honoring this meat with rich heat and complex flavor.

As usual, although parking was a breeze, the shop was a zoo of activity with customers and cleavers in action. I ducked next door to the restaurant for a take out order and some more elbow room. Despite the crowding, it's more than well worth the trek. If you have not worked with goat meat before, the Lebanese Butcher would be a wonderful place to begin experimenting.

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Another testimonial for the butcher shop...

I finally remembered to stop by the Lebanese Butcher shop yesterday to procure goat (stew meat, with bones). At $4.47 a pound, the meat was cut before my eyes and fresher than I could have imagined. The resulting curry (inspired by Madhur Jaffrey's "Most Delicious Meat Cubes", time increased for larger bone-in meat) was astoundingly delicious, honoring this meat with rich heat and complex flavor.

As usual, although parking was a breeze, the shop was a zoo of activity with customers and cleavers in action. I ducked next door to the restaurant for a take out order and some more elbow room. Despite the crowding, it's more than well worth the trek. If you have not worked with goat meat before, the Lebanese Butcher would be a wonderful place to begin experimenting.

I was telling an out-of-town chef friend about their stock and he was So. Jealous...

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Are we whipping up enough enthusiasm for a $20 Tuesday yet....? Or should I post on the Events and Gathering Board?

Yes, please go to the $20 Tuesday thread, and post the date you would like to have the event. Do you need to contact the restaurant first?

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Went back again on Sunday for an early lunch. Tried their lamb schwarma platter this time and also their soujouk and kibbeh. Good grief people, if you have not been here to try their menu, go, go go! So good.

Hard to argue with that sentiment. Fully concur, and then some. And you can't beat the kibbee nayee!

We are blessed with some doggone fine Middle Eastern food in this part of the world. Lebanese Butcher is at or near the top of the list, but the sit-down ambiance is a bit lacking. Therefore, I use it for carry-out most of the time. Same for Mediterranean Gourmet Bakery in Franconia, which has very good food, but not much sit-down ambiance. These two are my go-to carry-out spots, far and away. Go, go, go!

Still thinking of a $20 Tuesday at Lebanese Butcher, but the size of the place would be a challenge for any crowd above about a dozen.

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Hard to argue with that sentiment. Fully concur, and then some. And you can't beat the kibbee nayee!

We are blessed with some doggone fine Middle Eastern food in this part of the world. Lebanese Butcher is at or near the top of the list, but the sit-down ambiance is a bit lacking. Therefore, I use it for carry-out most of the time. Same for Mediterranean Gourmet Bakery in Franconia, which has very good food, but not much sit-down ambiance. These two are my go-to carry-out spots, far and away. Go, go, go!

Still thinking of a $20 Tuesday at Lebanese Butcher, but the size of the place would be a challenge for any crowd above about a dozen.

Anybody live nearby with space enough to host? A $20 takeout dinner would be a first. Maybe once the weather warms up and a deck could be involved.

(eying cereal)

(soujouk lust taking over)

(7:30 pine)

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Is the restaurant open for lunch during Ramadan? If not, when do they start serving dinner?

While I don't know the exact answer -- you should give them a call -- I'll note that Muslim hosts remain very gracious and accommodating to guests even when they are fasting. My thought would be that they remain open to provide for their non-Muslim guests during the daytime (and probably because they rely on the revenue to pay their employees) and then throw a little post-sundown dining event for the employees and Muslim guests. That's just a guess, but I'll bet that's the situation.

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Did you actually see the food? Last week I went before noon and the restaurant itself was locked. A lady working behind the counter was busy helping another customer so I didn't stick around and ask questions. I didn't know if the advertised buffet was for lunch or for dinner. Do they normally have buffet at either lunch or dinner? Yes, I can call and ask but I'm being lazy at the moment.

My experience with Ramadan buffets is that they're in the evening after sundown for breaking the fast.

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The Lebanese Butcher's slaughterhouse in Warrenton is having problems with neighbors and town officials. From WaPo. Link

Quote

It was the day before one of the biggest Muslim holidays of the year, and the Rababeh family was in a panic.

They had ordered hundreds of sheep, goats and cows to slaughter for their customers in observance of Eid al-Adha, a holiday commemorating the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail at God’s behest, and God’s ultimate decision to let Ibrahim slay a sheep instead.

But now the family was scrambling to avert a crisis. Local officials had declared a few days earlier that, this year, the Rababehs’ Lebanese Butchers Slaughterhouse would not be granted the special event permit they were required to have to accommodate their hundreds of expected customers. And now the town had placed a police barricade out front to block customers from walking through the slaughterhouse doors.

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