Kababji Grill is the first American outpost of a Lebanese chain which opened to great fanfare in Dupont Circle a year ago, but has since fallen silent to the fickle fingers of the press.
It is a handsome, polished space, and the bar area features a happy hour during the week from 4-7 PM with some outstanding bargains (not to mention free WiFi in case you need to leave the office early and continue working while you nosh).
For happy hour, a glass of “House Red,” often a scary proposition, was $5, but the bar manager, Hakeem Bakeer, made a great call when he recommended buying the entire bottle of 2007 Don Quixote ($20) after I took a taste and heartily approved. It’s a simple Vino de la Tierra, but is 100% Tempranillo from Castile La Mancha, and is way better than a typical table wine (if they have it, get it).
Hakeem asked how hungry we were, and we said, “Yes!” He then recommended all three of his happy hour Sample Plates ($5 each): a Bakery Sampler of meat and cheese pies (which never arrived, read on …), a Mezza Sampler of hummus, Kababji salad, and baba ghanoush, and a Barbecue Sampler (which we got two variations of) consisting of bite-sized pita sandwiches made with shish tawouk and laham mishwe.
The three samplers – $15 total – were indeed a lot of food, brought together by the pickled peppers in the center compartments. The spreads were good, not great, but at the price, you just don’t complain. This was all accompanied by a basket of good, puffy, fresh-baked pita (baked in a gas oven; the kabobs are grilled on a wood-burning grill).
$35 for a bottle of decent wine and pretty much all the food two people would want to eat. Free WiFi, friendly, attentive service, and a warm atmosphere on a frigid day. What more can you ask for? Very overlooked and underrated as far as Dupont Circle happy hours go.
The kabobs themselves (on display when you come in the door) did not compel me visually, but who cares? This is the best food+wine happy hour I’ve been to, price-wise, in quite a while. Do yourself a favor and put this one on your short list.