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August 19, 2005

Mr. Kabob Cafe

Mr. Kabob Cafe
35 W. 35th St. (between 5th and 6th Ave.)
Tel: 212-290-0040

I'm shocked, Mr. Kabob serves absolutely delicious tabbouleh. (Much better than either of my two favorite Middle Eastern places in Brooklyn, Zaytoons or Waterfalls.)

Frankly, I don't even like tabbouleh, but it came with the vegetarian platter. Mr. Kabob's tabbouleh is mostly parsley with diced tomatoes and cucumbers and a little chewy fine grained bulgar wheat as an accent. The dressing is probably just fresh lemon juice and olive oil. North American tabbouleh is usually a bulgar and tomato salad with a little parsley. The traditional way is better.

I was thoroughly impressed by the entire vegetarian platter, actually. The babaghanouj was smoky with a light, fluffy texture. Superior to Zaytoons' and comparable to Waterfalls. I also really liked the muhammara (a red pepper and walnut spread).

The falafel were a little cold, but nicely seasoned and crispy. Next time I'll wait for a fresh batch instead of getting the ones under the warming light.

Mr. Kabob's pita is the ultra-flat 2-ply variety from a package. They warm it up for you in the panini press, but it's still not great.

I want to try the moudardra (rice, lentils, and crispy fried onions) and the fried eggplant patties. The actual kabobs looked awfully good, too.


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Lindsay, Are you a vegetarian?

..I am so hungry now... *sigh*

John, let me put it this way... I would be a vegetarian if I were a better person.

I do have some ethical boundaries. I gave up eating octopus when I learned that they're smart enough to open jars.

I know I shouldn't eat pigs, either, but I'm having a lot of trouble quitting.

Cows and chickens are more or less fair game.

I'm a vegetarian.

I struggled with moral vegetarianism for a while. Then I gave it up.

Then I was eating some beef jerky and had a moment of awareness where I could see and feel all the processing and animal cruelty, violence, and ecological harm, and psychological need to dominate other life that went into me eating that pack of jerky. I threw the rest away and haven't eaten meat since. Being a vegetarian is no longer a struggle at all. It is only a complete joy. It brings happiness in my life to know that my actions and my beliefs are consistant, and I feel less responsible for the weight of the worlds suffering.

You need one of these moments of exceptional awareness to convert you. Maybe some psilocybin mushrooms would help?

I am a tabbouletarian. That is, I only eat tabbouleh. You are spot on the on the dressing of lemon and olive oil, though as I am sure you know, so many olives and so many flavors to choose from. Impersonally, I like kalamata.

I find a hint of fresh mint can add some zest to the tabouli which can be enjoyed at a table inside or al fresco for the frisky.

Thanks for making me heartsick for the wonder that is NY, NY.

Why do otherwise magnificent middle eastern places use those crappy two-ply pitas? Why? WHY?

Pictures please.

I'm a vegetarian since about 1991 (if I had TomK's epiphany I would remember the date). Chicks dig it.

Good question, djw. If the pita stinks, case closed. Same as the hoagies (subs, heros) down here Philadelphia way; if they don't use good, fresh, Italian rolls, fuggedaboutit. The bread c'est tout.

Oh lord. I hate American style tabbuleh. It's all about the parsley, dammit! The bulgur is an accent!

I'd like to try this parsley dominated tabbuleh. Sounds interesting. I must say I do enjoy the american style, but then I really like bulgur and make bulgur salads of various sorts all the time. I suppose I don't know what I'm missing.

Ah, memories. The first time I had tabbouleh the right way was at Queen's Quay Terminal in Toronto. There was a small food court on the top floor with a Middle Eastern place. Most everything we tried was good, but it was the parsley-dominant tabbouleh that made it memorable. Like so much else, the place has long since been swept away by time...

Haven't been to Mr. Kabob yet, but I liked Bread & Olive, on W. 45th b/w 5th and 6th Ave...Hmm, 5th and 6th Avenues. Coincidence? I don't think so!

I'm an omnivor. Well, largely an omnivor. I'll always be an omnivor, and I embrace my omnivourousness.

This was a funny line:

"Cows and chickens are more or less fair game."

Few foods in life are as satisfying as a nicely grilled NY strip steak. Unless it is a Cuban">,,FOOD_9936_26333,00.html">Cuban Stlye Cheeseburger. Or a Jamaican Jerk Cheeseburger with Orange-Chipotle Mayo.

Yes, I've made all of these, and more. Come over some time for dinner, why don't ya?

John Needham:
I would envy you your meat eating pleasure had I not so many of my own. To each their own. With three kids graduating (one college, two high school, not twins, don't ask) in 2004, we had a Cuban pigroast done to the specifications of the Three Guys From Miami and it worked perfectly. Got some fresh Italian rolls from South Philly and made roast pork sandwiches.

I broke the oven down in November to a smaller one, and smoked a brined turkey for Thanksgiving in it. The vegetarians had homemade lasagna with roasted vegetables for which I made a savory garlic spinach pudding base. Bon appetit!

Have you tried Bedouin Tent on Atlantic @ Bond in Brooklyn?

It would be funnier if Mr. Kabob was actually his name, and his store only sold frozen yogurt.

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