Restaurant News & Reviews

Kabobs, kababs or kebabs

In the mood for kebabs tonight? Or would you prefer kabobs? Then again, maybe you'd rather have kababs. Whichever you're craving, one of these new eateries can satisfy the urge.

At Flame Kabob (7961-110 Skyland Ridge Parkway; 596-2525) in North Raleigh, the specialty is Persian-style kabobs skewered and broiled over an open flame and served with the traditional accompaniments of rice, lahvosh flatbread and cucumber sauce. Options include barg (tenderloin), kubideh (ground sirloin), chenjeh (lamb) and jujeh (chicken kabobs, which, according to owner Bahram Bakhshandeh, are "the best in town"). The offering also includes Persian dishes such as ghormeh sabzi, an elegant stew of beef, vegetables, red beans and fresh herbs.

Food is ordered at the counter; evening table service is in the offing. Bakhshandeh says he plans to offer live Persian music or a DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.

Meanwhile in Durham, kababs are roasted in a tandoori oven at Kabab & Curry House (2016 Guess Road; 286-3303). Owner Muhammad Sundal, who comes to the Triangle from Pakistan by way of New Jersey, describes his kababs (options include lamb, chicken, chicken tikka and ground lamb sheekh kababs) as Pakistani style, but says that "95 percent of the menu is Indian." And by that, he means both Northern and Southern Indian, with options covering the subcontinent from dosa and uttapam to curries and biryani dishes.

The cuisine is Afghan and the kebabs are grilled over charcoal at Unaabi Grill (914 Kildaire Farm Road; 720-2710;, which is slated to open this week in Cary. The menu lists an impressive 19 variations on the skewered-and-grilled theme, including lamb kofta, chicken wings, spice-marinated shrimp, and korma, ground beef meatballs in a mild curry sauce. The extensive offering also includes a broad sampling of Afghan cuisine, from bolanee (fried turnovers with fillings) to Kabuli pulao, a medley of beef or lamb, basmati rice, carrots, raisins and almonds. There's an ample selection of vegetarian entrees and side dishes, as well.

Owner Zahed Khan proudly notes that meats are halal and vegetables are organic, when possible. Khan has overhauled the former Pizza Hut that houses Unaabi Grill, transforming it into an warmly inviting space with an exotic Middle Eastern accent.

Oh, and just in case you think you've figured out that the spelling of "kebab" depends on the cuisine, think again.

According to the sign on the building at 905 W. Peace Street, which has been the home of a string of Mexican restaurants, the next occupant will be Village Kabob. The specialty? "Afghan cuisine." Stay tuned for more details.

And while you're tuning, you might turn your radio to 100.7 The River 6 to 9 a.m. Feb. 18, when I'll be the guest on the Mornings with Kitty Kinnin show. If you miss the broadcast, catch the podcast at whenever you like.