Dining

Pita perfection

Kabob Korner offers a tasty trip to the Middle East, or not

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Photo: Beverly Poppe

Okay, let’s not bullshit each other here. I’m not going to pretend I can tell you whether the food at Kabob Korner is “authentic” in the sense that it tastes like what you’d get in the Middle East. (Never been there.) And you’re not gonna pretend that’s what you care about when it comes to a six-table Downtown kabob shop, right? We both care about precisely one kind of authenticity: Does it taste good?

The Details

Kabob Korner
Three and a half stars
507 E. Fremont St., 384-7722.

Now, any time I enter a restaurant, I carry with me the wisdom imparted by the writer John H. Richardson: “As long as food doesn’t suck, it’s usually pretty good.” But even by that generous standard, yeah, the food at Kabob Korner mostly tastes good, at least based on the meal my family ate there recently. The chicken boti—tender chunks of meat marinated to an entertaining shade of orange in a tangy sauce—was flat-out delicious. The chicken kabob, a log of minced chicken and herbs, was a trickier dish. Its exotic green coloring promised an aggressive swirl of flavor: I took a bite thinking, This is gonna be something. In fact, it was curiously passive. I could taste the chicken but not the green—at first. Turns out it’s an accumulative experience: The herb flavors built with each bite. The hummus was fine, its creaminess textured with a slight graininess that I found appealing. (There’s American comfort food on the menu, too—burgers, subs—but we didn’t go there.)

What really bowled me over about this meal, though, was the warm pita bread, and I’ll spare you the string of synonyms for “pillowy” and “delicious” that I’ve worked up. If Richardson’s observation is about anything, it’s the authenticity of what tastes good, if you want to get poetic about it. These pitas embody that. They’re terrific, and they would be whether you ate them in the Middle East or at a six-table kabob shop in Downtown Las Vegas.

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