Lunchtime Snob: Where Persian meets Tex-Mex

Don’t be put off by their digs—Casa del Kabob delivers flavorful eats - JESSICA ELIZARRARAS
Jessica Elizarraras
Don’t be put off by their digs—Casa del Kabob delivers flavorful eats

Despite his country-of-origin creds, the guy behind the counter has seemingly given up: He pronounces “gyro” as many of us would: jeye-ro, not the year-o that’s technically accurate. The pole sign outside this former Arby’s also reflects some nods to local culture, announcing an anomalous “Philly chz wrap.” Then there’s the creamy chipotle sauce that came with my order—right alongside the traditional dill-flecked yogurt dip.

That chipotle sauce gives Casa (thankfully not Kasa) del Kabob a peg to hang its name on, but once inside and into the menu, the place’s Persian/Mediterranean proclivities become clear: there’s hummus and falafel; there are kabobs and those gyros; there are exotic Persian stews of eggplant and beef … and there’s a colorful mural of a paradisiacal valley.

It’s easy for the diner to bust the $10-buck barrier at CdK, if only because there are so many tempting items to be explored. I had to revisit the $4.99 falafel (here made with chickpeas alone, not with the additional ground fava beans that are traditional in parts of the Middle East), and that put me over the top when added to the chicken thigh wrap, $5.99 with fries.

As the four fried falafel balls come with the same lettuce and tomato salad that adorns many a Tex-Mex plate, they could be a meal on their own—and a nutritious one, at that. The crunchy, spicy orbs work with both sauces. Resist the urge to pump out ketchup for the giant spears of seasoned potato that may accompany the plates and wraps; here either falafel sauce seems more culturally appropriate—not that the flavorful fries really need anything. I wouldn’t add a thing to the thigh wrap, either—in fact, it was almost necessary to remove a little of the “salad” to get down to the chunks of well-seasoned, marinated chicken, additionally moistened with the mild yogurt/cucumber sauce.

It has been a while since I have had CdK’s eggplant babaganoush ($5.99), but I recall it fondly—just as I do the sometime-special lamb shank with green basmati rice. Though it won’t win any beauty prizes, the murky but intensely earthy ghourmehsabzi is a surefire Miss Congeniality bet. Unlike with the gyro, which has been around long enough that we frankly should be able to say it right, we can be given a pass on the pronunciation of this beefy, herby stew. No passes given for not trying it, however.

Note: Since the menu is the same all day, I went this time in the evening, and though service, as always, was extremely congenial, it was also a little slow for hurry-up noon. Maybe they’re staffed up a little more for midday.

Casa del Kabob

11am-9pm Sun-Thur, 11am-10pm Fri-Sat
1027 SW Military
(210) 921-1200