Arlington, VA 22203
I don't remember Ravi Kabob when I lived in Arlington a little over a decade ago but my work hours were crazy back then and I thought Ruth's Chris Steakhouse was at the top of my food food chain. I could have used another word instead of using 'food' twice but a food food chain is not too far from a foo foo chain which sounds like an awesome thing. It's not that I think that Ruth's Chris is bad. It's that I thought that was the only type of fine dining restaurant that existed. It's amazing what a decade and living in NYC does to one's culinary tastes. Well, since I've come back, I've been told by just about everyone I've asked that Ravi Kabob is on the required reading list when it comes to DC food hot spots.
The one I went too is actually Ravi Kabob House Two. There's a few things that you should know that I didn't. First is that it's a pretty bare-bones-hole-in-the-wall type of place. Second, it's cash only and luckily I had some cash. (Yes, I didn't do to much research before I went). Third, the wait for food is longer than you would expect or at least longer than I expected. Fourth, it's Pakistani food which I have no idea what that is but I'm thinking its similar to Indian. I ordered the Lamb kabob (gujranwala style), a mango lassi, and some rice pudding at the counter and found myself a nice little table. Then I think I waited at least 15 minutes for my food. I was already to complain until I saw that they were making my lamb to order and it wasn't just being re-heated. Light Bulb. Like I said, the wait is longer than you would expect but after eating the food, it's well worth the wait.
The lamb had a nice char on them and came out tender, moist and packed with little subtle tones of flavor from the spice on them. I think there was cilantro, a bit of a curry/cumin mix, and yet not too hot. While the lamb was good, I mean good enough to just eat by itself, what I couldn't get enough were my side "choices". Well, really the chick peas. Don't get me wrong, the rice was good but man, these chick peas. They were bathed in a really poignant curry sauce and came out tasting spicy with just hint of sweet. It was the type of thing that when mixed with the rice, you couldn't stop eating. The heat was just enough to keep you going the depth of flavor along with the smooth texture made it conducive to the shovel-eating method. I never know what to do with the tandoori bread so I probably need some lessons in eating at places like these. Do you,eat it by itself? Seems boring. Put lamb in it and wrap? A bit messy. DIP IT INTO THE CHICK PEAS? Winner. Winner. Chick(en) Dinner.
I don't know why it took me so long to go to Ravi Kabob, especially since it's so darned close to my apartment. Before, you start with, "Well, it's because you're an indecisive dumbass that simply had to pull your car over.....", I'm just going to tell you know that I've blocked that out of my memory and will not be mentioned again. So, yeah, no clue why I didn't go to Ravi Kabob sooner but I'm glad I finally got there. The meal is relatively cheap, the decor isn't why you and the food makes up for all of that. I can't say whether it's authentic Pakistani (since I'm no expert) food but I can say that it delivers all the right flavors and hits all the right notes if you're looking for a dependable, cheap meal in Arlington.