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January 7, 2010

The kebab explosion

CeazarKebab.jpgI finally made my way through all my backed-up e-mail. You get a good overview doing it this way (sifting through a million in a week), but I don't recommend it. Too stressful. You find there are e-mails you should have answered whose writers are probably dead by now.

But back to the overview. I've gotten a surprising number of e-mails (OK, four) about new kebab houses.

We had an earlier conversation about all the Latin American places that opened in the last decade in the Upper Fells/Highlandtown area, and the Little Asia that's developing around Catonsville and Ellicott City.

Just as striking, it seems to me, is the number of kebab places that opened in the aughts. What makes it particularly interesting is what I wrote about immediately after 9/11 at the beginning of the decade: ...

I stopped by the Kabob Hut at 13 Allegheny Ave. in Towson recently and felt sad because the normally bustling spot was empty, in spite of the little American flags stuck everywhere. (The super-nice owners are natives of Iran.) A few days later, a friend of mine was told the Egyptian owner of Al Pacino Pizza at 6080 Falls Road had gone home depressed because business was so bad.    

I can understand customers having vague feelings of unease about eating Middle Eastern food these days, but it would be too bad to see any of our nice neighborhood eateries go under as a byproduct of the terrorist attacks.

Luckily that unease didn't last too long, and now kebab places are opening everywhere. To mention just two that I got raves about:

Ayubi's Chicken & Kabob

6604 Ritchie Highway

410-766-9585

Susan wrote this about it: 

I took a chance this weekend and stopped at a little place in Glen Burnie Called Ayubi's.  It looks like a drive through and the posted exterior meno was for generic fried food but a quick roll up to the window gave me access to a Afghani menu.  I bought an entree and it was superb!  I plan on stopping there every time I drive that way.  The food was cooked to perfection; the food was fresh, beautifully presented and delicious.  I came home and sent a group-wise email to friends in Canton, Federal Hill and UMMS.  

Then I heard about this one from Danielle, who seems to be involved with it in some way:

Kavkaz Kebab

10902 Boulevard Circle

Owings Mills

410-998-9004  

I've been following your blog and thought you may be interested in learning about a new small restaurant in Owings Mills, MD, KavKaz Kebab. This six month old Kebab cafe has already made a huge impact in the Owings Mills, Reisterstown and Pikesville communities. 

What's particularly interesting is that this is an Azerbaijan restaurant.

From a purely personal standpoint, kebab restaurants represent something of a dilemma for Sun food writers. Our style is to spell it "kebab," but most of these restaurants have "kebob" in their names. It's like writing about the Szechuan House and having to say it specializes in Sichuan cuisine.

(Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 6:19 AM | | Comments (23)
        

Comments

There is a little place on Eastern in Highlandtown called Little Morocco that has superb kebab platters. For $10 you get a kabob, rice, pita, and salad. Everything is always delicious and we get food from there a couple times a month. It's more of a takeout place and doesn't have a liquor license and you can do BYOB if you eat it.

I've been meaning to try Kavkaz for a while now; anyone been?

Kabab Hut (again with the variant spelling) was good. I had Tandoori salmon, I think. It's on Route 40 near the HoCo line, west of Rolling Road.

I still miss Afghan Kebob that used to be across from the old legg mason building on the corner of lombard and charles. I think that was my favorite kebab place.

well That didn't work well!

Habibs

Tried Ayubi's yesterday. The place is a former Krispy Kreme, so they have that big window where you can see everything going on in the kitchen. It was great to see my Kebob being grilled and the tandoori oven cooking my bread while waiting. The place was almost empty at lunchtime, which is rarely a great sign. I thought the prices were slightly high for Glen Burnie lunch ($8.99 for Kofta Kebob, $12.99 for Lamb) but I will do it again in the future.

I used to order a lot of carryout/delivery from Little Morrocco, but there is often only one employee and the wait can be long. I dined there once. Surreal experience. With Premier League Football blaring and little English spoken, I felt far from Highlandtown.
They have a lunch special. $5.99 for falaffel/chicken kabob sandwich, fries and soda!

Jasa Kebob on O'Donnell Square is also decent and is open well after midnight.

We tried Ayubi's the first week they were open and were very pleasantly surprised. This is the only place in Glen Burnie (that I know of) to get kebab and it was wonderful! The owner came out and spoke to us about the food and explained what everything was and gave us tips about what to order next time. We'll definitely be back.

There is a reason Kabob Hut in Towson was empty. I went there 3 months ago with my wife. I used to go there regularly when I lived in Hampden. The place used to be great.

Now the place is a filthy mess. The floors were dirty, the tables were sticky, and worst of all, the kabobs were just plan bad and awful. My wife went to the bathroom and she said it was disgusting and had no toilet paper. Personally, I miss the old Kabob Hut b/c it used to be the only place to get a decent Kabob in the area.

@Liz Kay
I recently tried Kabab Hut, but didn't really enjoy it. I had the beef sheek, but want to go back and try some of their other dishes. Salmon was good you say?

The Awe Shack in Gambrills (424 and 3 intersection) is great. I've only been once, but I'll be back.

I like Kebab-Stop in Mt. Washington on Falls Road. You can eat in, but most people seem to get delivery or take-out.

http://www.kabab-stop.com/

Kabob Stop on Falls Road is excellent. I was so worried that they would close because they are a difficult location to access, by foot or by car, but word of mouth seems to have helped them.

Somewhat related - does anybody know where you can get a doner kebab in greater Baltimore?

Doner kebabs at Cazbar:

http://www.cazbarbaltimore.com/

I really liked the Kavkaz Kebab. That was quite a different experience for me and my friends who accidentlly ended up in the area at lunch time on our trip. Good people, good food and simple and easy air. I would stop by next time around.

I really liked the Kavkaz Kebab. That was quite a different experience for me and my friends who accidentlly ended up in the area at lunch time on our trip. Good people, good food and simple and easy air. I would stop by next time around.

I really liked the Kavkaz Kebab. That was quite a different experience for me and my friends who accidentlly ended up in the area on our trip. Good people, good food and simple and easy air. I would stop by next time around.

Kavkaz Kebab is one of my favorite restaurants. The food is fresh and delicious and the wait staff is attentive without being intrusive. I especially like the Kavkaz salad, salmon kebab and the hot, homemade tandoori bread. Great atmosphere, too!

Try House of Kebab, Harford Rd in Parkville. It is unassuming from the street but very pleasant on the inside. It has been around for about 15 years or more and was opened by the same gent that had the Afgan Kebob place downtown( I believe he is also the same guy who opened the place in Canton) (But I digress) So every weekday for lunch and every Sunday from about 11:30 to 8:30p there is a AYCE buffet that not only have beautiful joojeh and meat kababs but ceasar salad, torshi, yougurt ashe soup, 3 or 4 different khoreschts (stews) so you can really get a feel for Persian cooking beyond a kebab. Plentiful rice, pita bread. It is a BYOB spot ( no additional charge for corking) Never rushed out. Always busy. I even saw one of their waitresses coming in for carryout on her day off!!! You can order from the menu if you choose, but at $13 on sunfdays and $10 mid week, why? I haven't tried the others you speak of (except for Kebab Hut, which I agree, went downhill fast after its heyday), but I know a bit about Persian cooking and this is about the best quality you can get outside of preparing it yourself (and then maybe not!)

Try House of Kebab, Harford Rd in Parkville. It is unassuming from the street but very pleasant on the inside. It has been around for about 15 years or more and was opened by the same gent that had the Afgan Kebob place downtown( I believe he is also the same guy who opened the place in Canton) (But I digress) So every weekday for lunch and every Sunday from about 11:30 to 8:30p there is a AYCE buffet that not only have beautiful joojeh and meat kababs but ceasar salad, torshi, yougurt ashe soup, 3 or 4 different khoreschts (stews) so you can really get a feel for Persian cooking beyond a kebab. Plentiful rice, pita bread. It is a BYOB spot ( no additional charge for corking) Never rushed out. Always busy. I even saw one of their waitresses coming in for carryout on her day off!!! You can order from the menu if you choose, but at $13 on sunfdays and $10 mid week, why? I haven't tried the others you speak of (except for Kebab Hut, which I agree, went downhill fast after its heyday), but I know a bit about Persian cooking and this is about the best quality you can get outside of preparing it yourself (and then maybe not!)

My husband and I visited Kavkaz in December for dinner, and it was fabulous! Granted it was an overcast Sunday, but the service was attentive and friendly, but not intrusive. The food was marvelous, fresh, and wonderfully seasoned. It was sort of a cross between mid eastern and eastern european cuisines and their food was very regional specific, which was great because I learned something too! BYOB never hurts either and, if I'm not mistaken, we didn't get a corkage fee. Go for lunch, we've done that since, and it's a steal. Go, if you haven't already!

I will recommend not to wait until you earn enough amount of money to buy different goods! You should take the home loans or sba loan and feel free

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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