First Bites

Le Kabob Brings Much Needed Spice to Brickell

John Zur
Le Kabob interior
Situated between Piola and Zen Sushi, at 1250 S Miami Ave., Le Kabob is finally open after weeks of stalled attempts. And what's not to like about an independent Lebanese/Mediterranean Grill amongst the chains and same-old, same-old restaurants?

On a cool night (they're coming!) get there early so you can sit at one of four outdoor couches on the patio. There are also two high-top tables with four stools apiece, but the couches are especially accommodating to lounge. You can even smoke hookahs prepared by sexy attendants. The inside ain't bad either. It features tables with a view of the open kitchen. Perhaps the only thing that detracts from the environment is the obnoxiously loud house music.

The meal begins with a complimentary offering of pita bread and pickled vegetables, including cauliflower, olives, and, of course, pickles.

For at least three people, the veggie platter combo ($12.95) is an excellent choice. It comes with hummus (creamy, with a dash of paprika), baba ghanoush (a little too lemony), tabouleh (take it or leave it), falafel (perfect, crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, light texture to it), and grape leaves (outstanding, flavorful, served warm). Also tasted off the appetizer portion of the menu was the fried kibbeh ($6.95). The lean ground sirloin with cracked wheat and cumin, filled with spices and pine nuts, is, like the falafel, more fried goodness.

Things got interesting during the ordering process when we asked the server for the difference between the Lebanese kabob platter of beef or lamb ($14.95) and the Mediterranean kabob platter of beef ($14.95), lamb ($14.95), or chicken ($12.95). The descriptions are identical. "Your choice of filet mignon or lamb tenderloin seasoned with Mediterranean spices and herbs, skewered and grilled over an open flame." "More of a curry flavor" and spices came the answer. Asked which spices the server confessed ignorance. I then asked if she could inquire of the chef. She soon returned stating that "the spices used are the chef's secret and no one knows."

So we tried the Lebanese lamb kabob, which was composed of flavorful medium rare cubes served over a bed of yellow and white rice. Actually, it's a Cuban cafeteria-sized portion of rice. And much to our surprise, a bonus salad was added. When I asked the server for a side of yogurt, she promptly suggested the garlic yogurt, which was outstanding and complimented the lamb kabob perfectly. While the kabob platters could use a cleaner presentation and an automatic side of yogurt, it's difficult to knock the dish overall because of the portions and taste.

The server also let us know the sides of yogurt, extra pita bread, and pickled vegetables are all complimentary. It's a nice touch. There are only two dessert options, baklava and namoura ($3.95 each), but it's Le Kabob's authentic ethnic food that should turn locals into regulars. And the fact that Le Kabob will store your own personal hookah, with your name on it is also a great incentive.

Le Kabob
1250 S Miami Ave. #4, Miami

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John Zur