By Nina Silberstein
A kabab or kabob usually consists of small pieces of seasoned or marinated meat or seafood, that can be grilled or broiled, and threaded on a skewer. Often it includes vegetables such as green peppers and onions.
The restaurant, Kabob is much more than this traditional Middle Eastern dish. It is a gourmet dining experience.
Nazeeh Iam and his wife opened Kabob in December 2019 and already have regulars stopping in three to four times a week. “That’s how much they like the food,” Iam remarked.
The couple, originally from Jordan, owned a restaurant in Dubai for 11 years before coming to the United States in 2011. They owned the Promise Land Café in NE Portland (now closed) before moving over to their present location in inner SE.
Iam considers his cuisine to be somewhat a Middle Eastern steakhouse as he uses grass-fed lamb and Black Angus filet mignon in the kabobs.
Traditional appetizers include everything from zait and zatter – an olive oil and mixed-herb dip, to hummus and baba ghanouj to vine leaf rolls (dolmas), garlic shrimp, lentil soup, Greek salad, fried cauliflower and a feta cheese plate.
House specialties include:
• Mouthawama – choice of meat cooked in fresh garlic and basil, lemon juice and olive oil and served on a bed of tomato sauce
• Lamb musaka – eggplant cooked in tomato sauce
• Maglooba – choice of meat layered with rice and fried vegetables, placed in a pot, then flipped upside down when served
• Musakhan – roasted chicken cooked with onions, sumac, allspice, saffron and fried pine nuts, served over pita bread
There are plenty of vegetarian/vegan selections on the menu to choose from too – falafel plates, stuffed sweet peppers, squash stew, pasta eggplant, vegetable kabobs and hummseyeh, (chickpeas cooked with karri and natural herbs, served with rice). Iam prides himself on making “the best falafel in Oregon.”
The lunch buffet is nothing short of a feast offering more than 21 items, 15 of which are vegetarian/vegan friendly and, the entire buffet is gluten free. There is no compromising on quality here as all organic and fresh ingredients are sourced from local farmers markets.
Certain days of the week Kabob offers specials. Mondays, diners can enjoy a free soup and salad with dinner; Tuesdays are reserved for Happy Hour 4-6 pm ($5 wine and 50 percent off appetizers); dinners on Thursdays include a complementary dessert 5-9 pm and Fridays feature special menu items served 6-7:45 pm.
Kabob is available for private events, weddings, business lunches, cocktail receptions and more.
1864 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Photo by Nazeeh Iam