Persian in Orlando

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  • Alibaba House of Kabob

    1155 W. State Road 434, Longwood North


  • House of Kabob

    360 W. Fairbanks Ave. Winter Park Area

    (407) 645-0413

    For grammatical correctness, the name of this Winter Park newcomer should be "House of Kabobs" – plural, not singular, as the family-owned enterprise serves several varieties of grilled skewers. But the sound of the singular "House of Kabob" has a quirky ring to it – "Hey, I'm headed over to House of Kabob, want something?" – that matches its quirky vibe. There just aren't that many Iranian fast-food joints around.

    "Persian" is how one of the counter workers described the atmospheric music playing during a busy lunch hour. Further inquiry revealed that it was contemporary music from Iran – an interesting subject in itself, what with all the censorship. So while there's a sunny, modern, generic feel to House of Kabob, there is more than food inspired by Middle Eastern culture to be tasted. Traditionally, Persian cuisine makes use of spices that come together gently (no burning sensations); the lemony taste of sumac in particular imparts a clean flavor.

    House of Kabob is in an upscale shopping plaza with a culinary history – The Mill brewery was the first anchor and Taqueria Quetzalcoatl originally opened there. And several other restaurants currently are under construction. It's good to see some places to eat returning to an area that's most recently been dominated by a bridal salon. The menu is small but satisfying. There are kabobs made from ground beef, chicken, scolar (a mild white fish) and "shiesh" (beef tenderloin). The kabobs can be prepared as a platter ($4.95 to $7.95), served with rice (they call it white rice but it's saffron yellow), flatbread and "shiraz" salad (with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mint and lemon juice). Or they can be prepared as a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, red onion and cucumber ($2.95 to $4.95). Ordered cooked medium, the shiesh was bloody raw in the middle but tender; the tart sumac did wonders for the chicken, which was a favorite, as was the shiraz, a harmonious concoction.

    Reasonably priced vegetarian wraps – hummus, baba ghanoush and tabouli ($3.90 small, $5.90 large) – were filling. Ask for some feta to be thrown into the mix, a worthy recommendation from the sandwich maker. There's much to be appreciated at the House of Kabob – nothing is heavy but it's protein-rich, and the centuries-old spicing is a refreshing discovery.


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