Dishing it Up: Kabob House

The kabob combo with chicken and beef, basmati rice, grilled tomato and green salad.

Despite my best intentions to pack lunch in the morning to save money and eat healthy, somehow my morning always gets sucked up by other tasks. Read the paper, work out, feed the dog breakfast, feed me breakfast, and get ready for work. Bam! Suddenly it’s 7:30 and time to head out. No time to pack lunch.

Then I’m faced with a serious decision around noon. Where can I eat that’s healthy and not too expensive that I haven’t already been a million times? I recently discovered a solution: Kabob House Mediterranean Grill. The owner just opened a second location next to Five Guys in Union Gap, in addition to his first one on Nob Hill Boulevard.

I tried the Union Gap restaurant, which has a Middle Eastern feel and an open-kitchen concept, where you can watch the cooks preparing your meal if you’re waiting for takeout. I was greeted and seated immediately by friendly staffers. The menu was drool-worthy, with big photos and detailed descriptions for those not familiar with Mediterranean food. Kabob House features Greek and Middle Eastern items, made to order with super-fresh ingredients.

They’ve got lots of appetizers, including falafel cakes, which are gourmet seasoned green chickpea patties served with homemade tzatziki, (a cool, creamy Greek yogurt sauce with cucumbers, garlic, mint, and oregano); stuffed grape leaves known as Dolmeh; Spanakopita, which is phyllo pastry filled with spinach and feta; and Babaganoush, a ground eggplant dip. You can get a combo plate of three appetizers for $12.79.

Entrees include, of course, include shish kabobs — which come in veggie, chicken, beef, lamb, or shrimp. You can also choose Mousaka, Souvlaki, or a huge selection of salads and pita sandwiches. I tried the kabob combo plate, with a chicken and beef kabob, which comes with a small salad, basmati rice, and a grilled tomato. The kabobs were marinated in a delicious mix of spices and grilled to perfection, tender and juicy. The rice was tasty and the salad was crisp and refreshing. I also had a bowl of homemade lentil soup, which is one of my favorites, and Kabob House nailed it. It’s just 99 cents if you order it with a meal.

It was a great option for a healthy lunch, with the lean meat, green salad and rice. I dipped my kabobs in tzatziki sauce for an added layer of flavor.

With food like this, it’s no wonder this chain of restaurants, which started here in Yakima in 2009, is growing. Owner Ahmed Baqer has a dynasty in the making with restaurants in Ellensburg, Richland, and Spokane, and another under construction in Pasco. He wants to open 20 to 25 new locations in Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana in the next five years, and may consider franchising. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his concept expand even further.