Middle Eastern cuisine on a stick

Variety of spicy kabobs served at a new spot

Restaurant profile

October 04, 2001|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Twelve years ago, Ali Shirvan opened Waterloo Pizza in an Elkridge shopping center. The business did well, but Shirvan always thought he would enjoy serving the kind of Middle Eastern food he knew best. A few days ago, he opened Waterloo Kabob a few doors down from his pizza place.

"There was a need for it," he said, adding that many people traveled to Washington for good Middle Eastern food.

Waterloo Pizza and Waterloo Kabob are small restaurants, with most of the business in the form of carryout meals or delivery service. Waterloo Pizza has a single table, while Waterloo Kabob has four small wooden tables. Delivery is free to addresses within three or four miles of the restaurant, Shirvan said.

As the name suggests, kabobs are the main attraction. Shirvan's favorite is koobideh kabob, made with seasoned ground sirloin. Like all kabobs at the restaurant, it is served with a grilled tomato and Basmati rice, which is more flavorful than white rice.

For kabobs of chicken and beef, Shirvan marinates the meat overnight with garlic and "some special seasonings," he said. The meat is cooked on a grill with no added fat.

"Most of the fat drips off," he said. "It's a healthy way of cooking."

A vegetarian kabob made with grilled onions, green peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms is also available.

For diners who can't choose among the many selections, three combination plates are on the menu. In addition to kabobs, Waterloo Kabob sells several salads, including the tart salad shirazi, made with cucumbers, onions and tomatoes in an olive oil and lemon dressing. Other choices include a garden salad, Greek salad and a garden salad topped with grilled chicken breast.

For appetizers, Waterloo Kabob sells mast-khair - a dip made with yogurt, mint and shredded cucumbers; hummus - made with mashed chickpeas, garlic, tahini and lemon juice; kashk-o bademjan - a dip of eggplant, onions, garlic and sour cream; and ashe reshteh - a traditional Persian noodle and vegetable soup.

Shirvan said he wanted to start with a small menu, which is easier for a small restaurant to handle.

For now, he's hiring and getting his new place up to speed. Over time, he hopes to expand the menu.

He is offering dishes that he knows and loves. "I grew up with this kind of food," he said. "The way they cook it and make it goes back a long way."

Waterloo Kabob

Where: 6590 Old Waterloo Road, Unit 3, Elkridge; 443-755-0600.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Prices: Appetizers and salads range from $2.50 to $7.75; kabobs start at $6.95 and increase to $11.95 for a combination platter.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard and American Express

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