Ravi Kabob House

250 N Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22203
Ravi Kabob House on Urbanspoon

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.

I've been back for quite a bit of time now and I only just got to Ravi Kabob this week.  It's only a two minute drive from my apartment and this is where you're probably going, "the place is f*cking awesome, what took you so long?"  Well, it's because there are two of them.  Whaaat?  Yes.  TWO OF THEM.  They're basically on the same intersection of Glebe and Pershing but on diagonal from each other.  They're owned by the same owner and I suspect serve the same food.  My dilemma was every time I drove by, I didn't know which one to go to so I froze and just kept driving.  I probably did this a hundred times over the past few months.  Finally, last week, someone told me to go to the one attached to the CVS and bam, this post is happening now.

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.

Tandoori Bread
When your order is ready, they call you up to the counter to pick up and also to choose the two sides that come with it.  There's about six different choices and while it appears you can choose which ones you want, the guy scooping up the sides onto your plate gives a very definite opinion of which ones he thinks you should take with your protein.  My "choices" ended up being the rice and chick peas.  It also comes with a side of tandoori bread (flat bread).  The lassi was your typical mango smoothie (or at least I think of it that way) but much lighter than I've had in the past so it didn't feel like a whole other meal.

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.

Rice Pudding
I got a bit full and had a fantasy football draft looming so I took the rice pudding to go and ate it while I was setting up my team.  There was some green curry mixed into the rice pudding which I found was an interesting flavor to introduce into the sweet mixture.  That alone made it unique but just wasn't enough to make up for the consistency of the rice pudding.  Maybe dessert isn't their strong suit but the rice pudding was simply too runny.  I enjoy mine being a little more thick where the rice is more prominent and this one just didn't live up to that.

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.

Lamb kabob (Gujranwala style) with Rice & Chick Peas


  1. As far as I know, lorna vanderhaeghe self-help books would strongly point out that rice is a rich source of carbohydrate and making it a porridge can actually stand alone as a good meal.

  2. I absolutely love Ravi Kabab!
    Drove 30 mins there on weekends to fulfill my pregnancy cravings (thats the excuse I used). The chicken kirahi and chick peas are the best.
    This place and Charcoal Kabab in Herndon are a must try.


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