Whether I’m right is open to debate, but that has become my opinion.
I’ve been to both restaurants over a dozen times each, and Kabob Palace has won me over. The service is always polite and friendly, too, but I’m talking strictly about the food. My goodness, I had a Keema (ground beef and potatoes) there the other night (it’s a Thursday-night special) that was *magnificent*, and it cost something like $10.95 for a huge portion, with chole (get the chole as your vegetable), salad, rice, and bread straight from the tandoor. It sounds like a lot of starch (potatoes, rice, and bread), but somehow, it doesn’t come across that way when you eat it.
I urge people to go here on Thursday evenings – even at 4 AM – and try the Keema. It will be crowded, and you’ll be waiting in line, yes, even at 4 AM. I update the Dining Guide several times per week, and people probably haven’t noticed that Kabob Palace is numero uno in Crystal City, with nary a challenger in view.
The Keema comes with one little tub of green sauce – you won’t regret asking for 1-2 extra tubs of sauce, even if it costs you something. You may not use them, but you may (and you can always take them home, and use them on something else). One tub gets completely lost in the dish – I prefer take-out, because I like to dump everything into a mixing bowl (with the (possible) exception of bread), and eat it like a dog. I use a fork, but that’s about the only difference between me and the dog.
When you’re in line there, peek over towards your right, at the range-top, and note the size of some of the pots with stews burbling away in them – you could bathe an infant in one of them. Have you ever looked inside of a Pho kitchen, and seen the size of the Pho pots? These aren’t *that* big, but they’re several-times larger than the ones they use at Ravi (not that this is good or bad; it’s just interesting).
I think they may also own Shisha Palace Cafe, next door, which is also open 24 hours. Note that in the former Cafe Pizzaiolo space on 23rd Street, there’s a third “kabob house” (I’m loathe to call Kabob Palace a “kabob house”): Grill Kabob. I look forward to someone reviewing it, but it won’t be me, because you’d have to pry me away from Kabob Palace.