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Posted at 2:46 PM ET, 11/ 4/2009

Coming to Dupont: Kababji Grill

By Tom Sietsema

Kebab alert: The Beirut-based Kababji Grill is poised to open its first U.S. restaurant in the the District later this month. In a phone conversation this morning -- Starbucks my time, lunchtime there -- founder Toufic Khoueiri, who owns "around 30" similar establishments abroad, told me his next project will be at 1351 Connecticut Ave. NW (in the same building as Hello Cupcake). At least two more area restaurants are expected to follow next year.

The focal point of the 140-seat dining room in Dupont will be a charcoal grill and a brick oven (Kababji is making its own pita bread for table service). On the menu: skewered beef and chicken, of course, but also vegetable dips, meat pies, semolina cake and two kinds of kebbeh, or steak tartare. One, flavored with mint, basil and onion, reflects the northern style; the other, spiked with chili pepper sauce, is preferred in south Lebanon.

To prepare for launch, seven cooks spent seven weeks training in Beirut, which has one of the largest Kababji Grill locations. Khoueiri says the Dupont Circle spot will include carry-out, catering and delivery.

Khoueiri, who founded the company 16 years ago, hopes to distinguish his product from the pack with lean staples and food that tastes like a Lebanese mother made it. His chicken skewers will be skinless breast meat, for instance, while his beef (chunk) kebabs will feature tenderloin.

Kababji Grill is expected to open the last week of this month. Georgetown and the area around the Verizon Center are prospects for branches No. 2 and 3 in the city, says Khoueiri.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | November 4, 2009; 2:46 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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Just saw a sign for Maoz Vegetarian coming to 18th and M. It's like Amersterdam Falafel, but has salads as well as falafel and fries.

Posted by: heping | November 4, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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