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Eat This, Riverside: Roast Chicken & Grilled Meats with Garlicky Toum at Kabob House

Although the vast menu can be daunting for the uninitiated, follow Seth’s ordering guidelines and you can put together a phenomenal meal at this hot-spot for hot-pot, grilled meats and dumplings.

Kabob House is owned and operated by Palestinian-American husband and wife team Linda and Azzam at 10901 Magnolia Ave.

Kabob House is the kind of delightful, family-run restaurant that it’s easy to root for. Owned and operated by Palestinian-American husband and wife team Linda and Azzam (he mans the grill, and she manages the customers), this casual spot across from the main Kaiser hospital on Magnolia is a great option for grilled meats, especially accompanied by the house “toum” a potent garlic/lemon puree.

Linda tells me that the food they serve at Kabob House is exactly the kind of home-style food you’d eat if you attended a BBQ at their house. So, it makes sense that perfectly grilled meats are the highlight of the menu.

I love their Kafta Lula Kebab - long, girthy skewers of ground beef and lamb seasoned with onion and parsley and a mix of secret seasonings, grilled to just the right level of char. They’re what a hamburger should aspire to be. The kafta (as with the rest of the grilled options on the menu) comes as a plate (accompanied by hummus, salad, pickles, rice) or a wrap - lavished with tahini sauce and tomato and onions in an excellent fluffy pita pocket.

The Kafta Lula Kabob Plate at Kabob House.

The small kitchen behind the counter is dominated by a giant cabinet-style rotisserie grill where chickens lazily spin until you order one. Then, Azzam unthreads the birds from the skewers and gives them a kiss of flame on the grill before packaging them up in styrofoam clamshells. This chicken is outstanding - with juicy meat and irresistible spice-crusted burnished skin.

Don’t skip the garlic “toum;” it’s the perfect accompaniment for this chicken, so long as you don’t mind smelling like garlic the rest of the day and night - it took two vigorous sessions with my electric oral-B toothbrush for my breath to pass muster again after a recent toum-topped lunch.

The Half Rotisserie Chicken Plate at Kabob House.

The shawarma at Kabob House is distinctive - unlike other spots where you’ll receive tiny shreds of meat from a rotating gyro cone, Azzam’s rendition is chunkier. Big pieces of marinated beef and/or chicken come in an assertive spice blend with unexpectedly strong notes of cardamom alongside the tart sumac and onion. I think it does particularly well as a wrap; the strongly flavored meat is a great team player slathered with tahini sauce and veggies.

Non-grilled items are also good at Kabob House. I like their foul, hummus’s fava-bean cousin, lightly mashed and doused in lemon juice and floral olive oil, great with a bite of pita bread. The falafel is distinctive, too - well-fried with a smooth, pureed chickpea interior, bright green with ground parsley.

Save room for dessert - Kabob House offers a great selection of Middle-Eastern sweets, from gooey baklava to short-bread pistachio-studded sugar cookies and chocolate-covered dates.

When you go, be sure to make time for a little chit-chat with Linda - she is a charming and friendly host. She takes pleasure in the fact that she knows her regulars by name and is justifiably proud that she and Azzam have been serving the community for ten years at this location.

Kabob House is located at 10901 Magnolia Ave. They’re open for lunch and dinner Monday - Saturday and are closed on Sunday. There is seating inside and on the patio overlooking the parking lot.

Thank you, Gazette readers, for all the tips! Keep them coming; we are always eager to hear about places that fly under the radar and serve interesting and unique offerings. Email with your suggestions.