Taxi drivers are often a good source of restaurant information. Last month I got a great tip about a newer Pakistani place, Kababish. I was surprised to see it briefly mentioned in the Reader not long ago and then Zim brought it up here recently. Before dropping us off, the driver gave us a chapli kabab from the restaurant. An incredibly good patty of highly seasoned meat. Needless to say the driver got a very good tip from us.
So I finally got around to trying Kababish and it didnt disappoint at all. On the contrary, it was probably the best of its type. Its roughly similar to Babas and the other Pakistani cabbie places but its more food-oriented. No pool table, no TV, no cigarette counter. Its just a small, very basic room with a steam table along one wall and about 6 booths along the other. We were there about 3am and it was busy but not quite full.
They didnt have the chapli kabab but on display were some sort of chicken stew (a frontier chicken variant?), goat curry, nehari, and a kabab stew. They mentioned they also had fish and a driver eating at one of the booths heartily recommended it. We ordered the fish and the kabab, and they also gave us a nice sample of the nehari.
The fish turned out to be 2 medium-small whole fish (not sure what kind), slashed and rubbed with lots of salt and spices before cooking. Not the easiest thing to eat with all those bones but pretty good.
The kabab dish was very interesting and extremely good. Small, grilled, egg-shaped meatballs in a very complex spicy sauce, filled with whole chilis, cardamom pods, and big sticks of cinnamon. Best dish Ive had in a while.
The nehari was also very good, a very tender big chunk of meat in a very different thick, complex, spicy sauce. Completely different from the last nehari I had at Sheeshmahal Dhaba. Little salads of shredded lettuce and lots of raw onion came along.
Another highlight was the chapatis, rolled out and cooked to order. As they were finished, the cook would lean over the counter and hand us the steaming baskets (remember, the place is small).
For dessert we had gulab jamun and tea. I suppose the gulab jamun was pretty good but theyre not a personal favorite of mine. The tea was very strong. The tab was very reasonable.
Kababish wont be to everyones taste but if you like Babas, I can almost guarantee youll like Kababish. I cant wait to return to try their other offerings (food varies day to day). Even though there werent any vegetarian dishes on display Im pretty sure they have them.
939 N Orleans
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