The Boston Phoenix
August 12 - 19, 1999

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Somerville gets a multicultural oven

by Rob McKeown

This is new for Davis Square: an opening that involves neither latte nor Guinness. Resembling a cross between a curry joint and a falafel stand -- with a hint of Japanese steak house thrown in -- Kababish dishes up a host of Turkish, Greek, and Indian specialties, and a superlative mango lassi ($1.95) to boot.

Kabbabish The theme here is that all the meats -- kebabs, shwarma, tandoori, and even teriyaki -- are cooked in a tandoori oven. That turns out to be either a blessing or a curse, depending on the dish. Beef shish kebab ($3.75 to $5.75), the menu MVP, is all sweet meatiness in its cloak of tahini sauce and warm pita. Tandoori chicken ($6.95) is a decent sandwich stuffing, but is too bland to be the centerpiece of an entrée. Lamb shwarma ($3.75 to $5.75), the ubiquitous gyro meat, is almost bipolar: highly flavored but forbiddingly dry. Another candidate for sandwichdom.

But leave the tandoori oven behind, and you've got a spinach pie (3 for $2.99) that's light and clean tasting; samosas (2 for $2.99) that are greaseless, delicate, and crunchy, their potato filling displaying spicing finesse; and dipping sauces, rice pilaf, and Greek salads ($3.25) that are meal enough for most. All in all, the multiculti approach is working.

Kababish, located at 195 Elm Street, in Somerville, is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. Call (617) 623-3354.

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