Ravi Kabob I, Arlington, VA

People often wonder how I can eat out around 360 days a year. What do you do on Christmas or Thanksgiving, they’ll ask. Well, this Thanksgiving, and this past Christmas, I got carryout from Ravi Kabob.

And I went again this week, getting the exact same thing I got on Thanksgiving.

The service at Ravi Kabob can be brusque, but depending on certain factors (for example, if you can speak Hindi or Urdu), it can also be more than accommodating. And if you know what to order, the food itself is the best of its type in the DC area.

First order of business: Get the Champ (*) Tandoori ($13.99), three lamb chops, prepared Gujranwala style, marinated with hot spices and yogurt, cooked on a skewer, then served with the bones wrapped in aluminum foil for manual enjoyment. If anyone, anywhere, knows of better lamb chops than these, please write me and let me know. All kabobs are served with tandoori bread, rice, salad, and a cooling, yogurt-based chutney (all of these side dishes go best with the Karahis which I’m about to describe).

Then if there are enough people, either get the Lamb Karahi ($21.99) or the Chicken Karahi ($19.99), both portioned for two. Ask them which one is fresher (on Thanksgiving, they were asked which of the two would be better, and they came right out and said the chicken was delivered that day). Prepared Landi Kotal style, it’s laconically described as “small pieces of chicken cooked in clay pan.” Perhaps so, but it is so complex in its spicing and saucing that it’s impossible to gather what all goes in here. The small pieces of chicken are on-bone, but the sauce contains some shredded meat as well as about 500 other complexities.

The other evening I placed a late-night order (the restaurant is open until 1 AM during the week, and 2 AM on the weekends), and they had forgotten to include the bread. The next day, I found a message on my cell phone which was placed at 1:25 AM: a gentleman called to apologize for the exclusion and offered to deliver it (and said to call back if I wanted a credit the next time I came in).

Ravi Kabob is cash only, serves exclusively Halal meat, and is the best kabob house (or, for that matter, the best Pakistani restaurant) I’ve ever been to. By far.

(*) Pronounced “chop”

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