An authentic international cuisine is a MUST for any big city, and while many may think that Charlotte’s foodie scene is still just growing and could not compete with cities like New York, LA, or even Atlanta…a closer look will reveal that we do have some pretty great noms right here in our very own backyard. We’re reviving our series of Eat Around the World in the Queen City right here in our blogosphere to feature different spots around CLT where you can get your fix of various ethnic and worldly cuisines. We will attempt to break down menus and all sorts of cookery so that you can have the knowledge and the courage to venture out to travel the world without having to grab your passport-THROUGH YOUR TASTE BUDS right here in the QC!
Y’all! We had initially introduced this as ExploreCLT Neighborhood Ambassadors when we first visited Bachi.CLT, and we are super excited to bring it back to life on our site!
Click here to check out our trip to Bachi.CLT, a Filipino/Sushi/Hibachi restaurant in the Mallard Creek/University area. On that post, we highlighted a few of their Filipino staple dishes!
We will try to check out as many different spots as we can, and if you have any restaurants you recommend…please let us know!
FIRST STOP: Kabab Je Rotisserie & Grille
at Stonecrest in Piper Glen: 7828-B Rea Rd, Charlotte, NC 28277
We have heard of so many great things about Kabab Je from so many different people. A couple of our followers on IG have been bugging us to check it out because of its AUTHENTIC taste, and so when Tonya of @poprockphotography invited us to have dinner there–we had to say, YES! I mean, just check out the picture below of our plate of ALL the apps we tried out during our first time at Kabab Je – Authentic Lebanese-inspired Mediterranean cuisine!
So, let’s break down the apps!
Falafel and Kibbeh with Kabis (Mixed Pickles)
With all sorts of herbs and spices, the falafel and kibbeh are mini flavor bombs just waiting to blow your mind!
Falafel: think deep-fried croquettes but these are made of ground chickpea and fava beans.
Kibbeh: think like a fancy deep-fried meatball made of lamb filet and minced lamb and onions!
So, with so many options on the table, we probably would have just ignored this bowl of greens immediately, but we were so glad we didn’t! This may appear to just be a bowl of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radish, onion, and mint…so what could be so special about this?!? I’m pretty sure it’s got to be the sumac spices and the crispy toasted pita bread on top! But either way, don’t sleep on this salad.
Just when you think…oh, hummus. Could you not just buy a container at TJ’s or Costco and call it a day?!? Well, this hummus is perfectly blended with tahini and garlic, and we sure did eat a bunch of it with the bowl of warm pita that they served!
Moutabal (Smoked Eggplant)
And no…you aren’t seeing the same photo twice! This was a first for us and perhaps may have even been Kriska’s favorite small dish of the night! If you’ve never had it before, it’s a blended mixture of tahini, garlic, and CHARCOAL-SMOKED EGGPLANT! So much flavor–and again, the perfect little thing to be scooped up by a garlicky piece of pita!
Eggplant El Rahib
Another charcoal-grilled eggplant dish–this time it’s finished off in a tomato base! The fresh mint and other herbs in this dish brightens it up so much.
So, again…another bowl of greens that we would have never imagined ordering but thanks to our friend, Tonya, we were introduced to this. Pro-tip from the PopRockPhotography goddess herself: TABBOULEH BOATS! Grab one of the lettuce leaves and fill ‘er up with this mixture of chopped parsley, diced tomatoes, onions and spices! It’s another bright dish to complement the other flavor bombs in the spread!
We all know that it’s currently great to be a cauliflower. Cauliflower’s just living its best life, kicking kale off of the trendy veggie list! This dish is just perfectly, lightly fried and then covered with Tahini sauce. Perfection!
Warak Inab (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
We’ve only ever had dolmas from Greek festivals, but these are the Lebanese counterpart. The vine leaves our stuffed full of a mixture of rice, tomato, onions, and all sorts of herbs!
Now on to the MAIN EVENT:
Mixed Grilled Kebabs & Seafood Platter
Obviously…we were already pretty much in a food coma just from the first round of appetizers but Kabab Je was showing out and dropped these gigantic platters of kababs and we were basically DEAD! LOL! But seriously, these pictures do not do these skewers justice. Some places do meat well. Others do seafood well. But Kabab Je, they just happen to do both well. Kriska’s favorite were the shrimp and scallop skewers; while Manny’s actually were the grilled lamb and grilled kafta (lamb meatball).
The grilled meat platter was on a bed of rice and the seafood platter was on a bed of grilled veggies and fried potatoes.
And of course…we have to end on a sweet note! We barely had space for the main event but we found space…and sure enough we MADE space for their desserts. We sampled some traditional baklava, but they also have a dessert display case with an assortment of cakes that rotate on a daily basis. Good thing is that if you end up just feasting on too much of the apps and the main dishes, you can always order your dessert to go because their desserts are not to be missed as well!
So, all in all…as you can tell…you don’t go hungry visiting Kabab Je. There’s something for everyone, and dishes you may never even order on your own may turn out to be your fave of the night as long as you’re willing to try. And that is our hope with these features on different cuisines around the Queen City is that we encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and open up your palate, and travel the world by savoring different cuisines in your own backyard!