Gourmet Shish Kebab is a quiet, unassuming place in Laurel, Maryland that serves up some outstanding food. It sits a few minutes off the Baltimore Washington Parkway on the eastbound side of Fort Meade Road. The shape of the building suggests that it was once a McDonald’s, but there’s nothing remotely franchise-like about it now. A Coca-Cola branded beverage refrigerator full of canned soda graces the inside corner near the door, but aside from that it looks and feels like a family affair.
A former coworker of mine recommended Shish Kebab to me several years ago. Considering that she was one hell of a cook I don’t know why I waited so long to try it, but this weekend I decided to give it a whirl.
A nice (grand)mother-like woman behind the counter greeted me. When I asked what she recommended, she asked me if it was my first time. When I said yes, she looked genuinely pleased. She took a minute to explain their offerings. Though they advertise Indian and Pakistani cuisine the menu is pretty straightforward. Kebabs, curries and vegetarian dishes dominate, but there’s also salads, gyros, and sides. While I was looking over the menu, she made me small plate to sample all three of their curries. Of the lamb and the two chicken offerings, I liked the Chicken Jalfarazzi the best. All of their platters run about $10 and include rice or nan, plus two vegetable curries.
I decided on a Pepper Chicken Kebab with nan (tandoori bread), potatoes, and channa (chic peas). The chicken was tender and juicy, with a unique peppery spice to it. Not overwhelmingly peppery, which is good. The potatoes were so-so, I’m not thinking the best vegetable to be curried; the chic peas were excellent. The curry itself wasn’t overly spicy and went very well with the nan. Which brings me to the nan. Wow. It’s soft and delicious, best when warm. The $1.75 price for it as a side would be worth visiting alone. It’s large enough to split but tasty enough that you might not want to.
If you want a lot of food you could get one of the $13-15 combination dishes, where you get two kebabs or two curries or one of each. To be honest, I couldn’t eat that much. Might not be a bad idea to try more and have leftovers. Maybe next time.
My total came to $10.02 after tax. The food and friendly atmosphere was worth every penny. I’ll be heading back, without a doubt.