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Kabob Bazaar, Longtime Clarendon Persian Kabob House on Wilson Boulevard and N. Herndon Street


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Anyone tried Kabob Bazaar?

Many times - it's becoming dingy as the years go by, but still has decent meat kabobs (a salmon kabob I tried on my last visit was dry and fishy-tasting). It was more special five years ago before the arrival of Ravi Kabob and other upstarts. That having been said, a couple of my Persian friends like Kabob Bazaar more than I do.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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Anyone tried Kabob Bazaar?

We get take-out from there regularly. Ate there a couple of times and service was very friendly and helpful.
The bread is delicious and the chicken kabobs are excellent (I recommend the ones with veggies included - they do a nice job on the veggies). I highly recommend the "zereshk polo" rice -- I'm sure I have the first word wrong, but it's the slightly more expensive rice with bayberries and saffron. Scrumptious.

We also usually get the side dish of a little "salad" -- really a selection of herbs and scallions -- with walnuts and feta. The nuts and feta are a great addition to the kabob/rice meal.

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If you're missing Lazy Sundae, you can duck into Kabob Bazaar for their khulfi (sp?) which is an ice cream melange of orange, pistachio, and saffron flavors. Very satisfying. I really can't complain that Arlington is getting into a kabob arms race with Ravi, Moby's, that mildly terrifying Pakistani place across from Whole Foods, and Kabob Bazaar duking it out for grilled meat accolades.

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I'd like to put in a plug for Kabob Bazaar, as it's slowly edging out Moby's as our go-to Persian place. We're still addicted to Moby Dick, but now it seems more like a gateway drug.

The regular field of kabobs is in play here, but with some advanced manifestations. Order the chicken barg kabob for the yoghurt and turmeric marinated chicken thighs that you're used to, but with additional hot notes from the dark barg spices. Order any of the kabob dishes with rice, but substitute the normal saffron rice with Zershk polo (adds barberries for tartness) or Shirin polo (with candied orange peel, carrots, and nuts for a sweet pilaf).

The specials tend to mirror the specials on offer at Moby Dick, comprised of the homier all-day stews. Kabob Bazaar just has more of them. Koresh Fesenjan was the special a couple of saturdays ago- a half chicken stewed in pomegranate molasses, stock, and chopped walnuts.

We're just about entering that time of year when sitting outside on the boulevard and drinking hot Persian tea with the cabdrivers is starting to be appealing, so give this place a shot when you're dazzled by Clarendon's dining plenty. If someone suggests cheesecake factory, punch them in the back of the head and take them here.

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I went there a couple of days ago for lunch - one of my Indian coworkers says it's one of only 3 kabob places he'll go to.

I had the chicken and the lamb kabobs. Both were very tasty.

I got the bread, which was delicious after soaking in the juices from the various meats.

I'll definitely be going back for lunch.

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Anyone been to 'Kebab Bazaar' on Wisconsin (right next to Philly Mike's)??? It just opened in the last week or so and I have to say it looks like it could be pretty good persian food...Might have to check it out soon.

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[Note: I moved this and the next few posts over to here from the "Dining in Bethesda" thread - several people may not have known that Kabob Bazaar has been around in Clarendon for many years. Ed.]

Edited by DonRocks
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Anyone been to 'Kebab Bazaar' on Wisconsin (right next to Philly Mike's)??? It just opened in the last week or so and I have to say it looks like it could be pretty good persian food...Might have to check it out soon.

Have you tried it yet? I was thinking about giving it a shot this week.

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Have you tried it yet? I was thinking about giving it a shot this week.

I actually went this past Friday to Kebab Bazar. Let's see, the food was really good I had a combo platter of lamb kebabs and the ground beef one. The lamb was better, but both were very flavorful as was the bread. I did not get the rice this go around, but my dining companions said it was good.

The space is pretty basic, and it can get a little noisy, but my biggest issue is the service. Yikes. Granted, they have only been open a month or two, but I was a bit taken aback at how slow things moved. Call me crazy but a waitstaff member should take a drink order within 5 minutes of seating I think. The service when they came to the table was nice, but it was just very slow -- possibly because it was the middle of the lunch rush. I will not hold it against them at all, but I hope the situation improves. The food is definitely enough of a reason to go back. I want to try the tabbouleh and also the tongue sandwich.

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I actually went this past Friday to Kebab Bazar. Let's see, the food was really good I had a combo platter of lamb kebabs and the ground beef one. The lamb was better, but both were very flavorful as was the bread. I did not get the rice this go around, but my dining companions said it was good.

The space is pretty basic, and it can get a little noisy, but my biggest issue is the service. Yikes. Granted, they have only been open a month or two, but I was a bit taken aback at how slow things moved. Call me crazy but a waitstaff member should take a drink order within 5 minutes of seating I think. The service when they came to the table was nice, but it was just very slow -- possibly because it was the middle of the lunch rush. I will not hold it against them at all, but I hope the situation improves. The food is definitely enough of a reason to go back. I want to try the tabbouleh and also the tongue sandwich.

Went again today and the service was much more prompt. It might be a timing thing since we didn't get there until 1, but it also seemed like there was more staff on the floor, too. Nice. Food was still very good. One of the kabobs (the ground meat one) was overcooked, but it was forgivable because the lamb kabob was pretty close to perfection.

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Went again today to try their stuffed grape leaves (a disappointment -- too mushy and one dimensional) and the tongue sandwich (a wrap, really, with decent tongue flavor, but nothing really noteworthy).

What was noteworthy was that the service was pretty 'meh', although I think the server was quite new to the position. Even worse, the kitchen is pretty incapable of dealing with the lunch crush, especially if there is a large group seated. I'm willing to cut them some slack, but, I'd recommend that you get there on the early side of lunch if you want anything close to prompt service. At least for now. ;-)

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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.

It may not be as good as Amoo's (I haven't been to Amoo's, though I will definitely point my McLean friends that way and next time I go over will bring them takeout from there), but I am a big fan of Kabob Bazaar in Clarendon. The zeresh polo (rice with saffron and bayberries) and the fresh pita, thick and chewy, make the dinner for me, but it is one of my favorite takeout places. Excellent juicy chicken kabobs (I think the fish ones might be a little fishy), nicely grilled vegetables, good pungent feta, nice mix of fresh herbs (basil and parsley and cilantro, I think), good must-o-kheyar. I only wish they delivered (since parking in that stretch of Clarendon can be iffy).

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It may not be as good as Amoo's (I haven't been to Amoo's, though I will definitely point my McLean friends that way and next time I go over will bring them takeout from there), but I am a big fan of Kabob Bazaar in Clarendon. The zeresh polo (rice with saffron and bayberries) and the fresh pita, thick and chewy, make the dinner for me, but it is one of my favorite takeout places. Excellent juicy chicken kabobs (I think the fish ones might be a little fishy), nicely grilled vegetables, good pungent feta, nice mix of fresh herbs (basil and parsley and cilantro, I think), good must-o-kheyar. I only wish they delivered (since parking in that stretch of Clarendon can be iffy).

Kabob Bazaar used to be a favorite of mine and Member #1 - we'd go there quite often around 2000. I haven't been in awhile now, but remember thinking during my last two visits (a few years back) that it had gone downhill. In particular, I remember a swordfish kabob that was just not good (not that swordfish is a mainstay of this Persian enclave). I have a lot of memories here, and would love to try it again; it was with a great deal of reluctance and regret that I lowered it in the Dining Guide, but I had to. Maybe it's back? Or, maybe I just hit it on a couple of off nights.

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I would avoid the fish there (we found it a bit off when we ordered a swordfish kabob), but otherwise I've been extremely happy with it recently, as always. I just wrote a paean to it in "dining in Clarendon," because the discussion centered on the few places open for lunch and I remembered that it is.

It's possible that the things I invariably order there are the things they do best. Though I remember having a soup there once that was good.

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This place certainly satisfies a craving for sure. But it is not really the best of the best. It should be noted that the portions are large, and I have only ever been there for lunch. The service (in the Bethesda location) is variable. Sometimes it is quite good, and other times they are having an off day - of note is that the # of off days is higher than you'd expect. As long as you are not in a rush, you'll be OK.

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Went again recently. Good service as always. Rice is really good still. Got just a lamb kabob, but should have gone for the combination (soltani) - however, if I did, I would have gone back to my office and fallen immediately asleep suffering from food coma.

The one thing I have a problem with this place is this - they almost always include grilled tomatoes. That part would be great if they just used tomatoes that weren't horribly awful pink cellulose styrofoam. I mean, you cannot get good tomatoes all year, but you CAN get good tomatoes in June. When you can get good tomatoes, do. When you cannot, use something else. And if you can get good tomatoes. do not try to pass off lousy tomatoes - it just makes you look like you don't care. This has been a problem at the Bethesda location since it opened.

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Went again recently. Good service as always. Rice is really good still. Got just a lamb kabob, but should have gone for the combination (soltani) - however, if I did, I would have gone back to my office and fallen immediately asleep suffering from food coma.

The one thing I have a problem with this place is this - they almost always include grilled tomatoes. That part would be great if they just used tomatoes that weren't horribly awful pink cellulose styrofoam. I mean, you cannot get good tomatoes all year, but you CAN get good tomatoes in June. When you can get good tomatoes, do. When you cannot, use something else. And if you can get good tomatoes. do not try to pass off lousy tomatoes - it just makes you look like you don't care. This has been a problem at the Bethesda location since it opened.

Kabob tomatoes are notoriously bad.

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Did a Seamless takeout from Kabob Bazaar (Clarendon) last week and, apart from the ridiculously long time it took, Seamless got the order wrong - they gave me regular rice instead of the zeresh polo (rice with saffron and bayberries).  This gave me a chance to see how much the zeresh polo enhances the meal, and the answer is a ton. The meal was disappointingly ordinary without it (though mixing in my usual side dish, noon paneer sabzi -- excellent blocks of feta and walnuts and herbs -- did jazz the food up quite a bit - it's such better feta than you usually get at restaurants).  The chicken and veggies were still cooked well (moist and juicy chicken, nicely charred grilled veggies), but I could see why some people don't find Kabob Bazaar that notable.

Moral of the story: unless you strongly dislike tartness, get your kabob with the zeresh polo! The tart barberries and the saffron flavor make the meal much more delicious. Absolutely worth the extra 3 dollars over plain rice. (And also get their very good pita, either the bread that comes with the noon paneer sabzi, or a separate order of bread. I get an extra order and enjoy it later in the week. And the must-o-kheyar yogurt dip is very very good with the bread. But the main takeaway is the zeresh polo.)

Second moral of the story: I'm done with Seamless. (Maybe DoorDash will do better, or maybe this is going to be a meal we go pick up all of the time instead of some of the time. Delivery options in Courthouse/Clarendon that don't use Seamless seem to be dwindling, but admittedly we haven't tried DoorDash yet.)

 

 

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FWIW, I am pretty sure the Bethesda location has now shuttered due to the looming redevelopment of that site in to a Westin Hotel. Philadelphia Mike's is gone, too. The stamp and coins place even found a new location about 500 feet away and they have been in that building forever.

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47 minutes ago, Pool Boy said:

FWIW, I am pretty sure the Bethesda location has now shuttered due to the looming redevelopment of that site in to a Westin Hotel. Philadelphia Mike's is gone, too. The stamp and coins place even found a new location about 500 feet away and they have been in that building forever.

Confirmed.

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On 4/21/2016 at 9:01 AM, Pool Boy said:

Went again recently. Really good service. Good food, still horrible tomatoes. Hummus was fine, but not aggressive enough. Of course, I do hope they stick around after they lose their lease--

"Kabob Bazaar, Other Connor Building Businesses, Searching for New Homes in Bethesda" by Andrew Metcalf on bethesdamagazine.com

And it turns out the new occupants of that site will be the Marriott Intl headquarters and a Marriott hotel.

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