Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Meat In A Box

spotlightGRight off the bat, I figured this place would be pretty good. Any restaurant willing to boldly state the type of cuisine it serves right there in the title is either crazy or brilliant or both.

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Meat In A Box (Photo: News-Press)

 

Right off the bat, I figured this place would be pretty good. Any restaurant willing to boldly state the type of cuisine it serves right there in the title is either crazy or brilliant or both.

Luckily for everyone, the fine folks at Meat In A Box are not insane, but simply serve quality Persian food in an incredibly clean place that suffers from being oddly located with a shortage of parking spots.

Located between a rug store and a parking lot next to a carpet store, Meat In A Box (M.I.A.B.) has its work cut out for it. But for those traveling on Lee Highway who are on the brink of insanity from eating bland, flavorless insults to American food, this is your place. Pretty much anything you order is going to have some spice in it, but not enough to scare away spiceophobes. (I don’t want to hear how that’s not a real word. Many people suffer from this for some bizarre reason.)

The hummus, a dip made of chickpeas, tahini and whatever other spices one feels are appropriate, is particularly good, and has the rare quality of being neither too thick or too soupy. Grocery-store hummus is no longer able to cut it for me, and several other places nearby that I can think of but won’t name (yet) make it so thick and filling that you can’t eat anything after it. Until somebody lets me know of another place with better hummus or sends me back to the Middle East, M.I.A.B. currently ranks as the best hummus in town.

Don’t like hummus but don’t want to say it out loud for fear of being given the stink-eye? The meaty and filling solution is right in front of you in the form of delicious skewers of either spiced and seasoned chicken and/or beef. Although they seemed a tad dry, it’s possible that the dish is supposed to be cooked that way, because a few other places serve it dry as well. All of this meat is served on pita bread over some rice with a small and delicious taboulish side salad made mostly of tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. For vegetarians, the crispy and filling falafel, fried balls made of chickpeas, vegetables and herbs, will inspire envy among any friends you might be dining with, so be prepared.

Along with the regular meals, the traditional Persian deserts of Ayran, a chilled yogurt drink, and ice-cream sandwiches flavored with rosewater and saffron and sandwiched in-between two thin wafers, are the prefect explanation for how Iranians prosper during what I can only assume are summers that resemble those of Mercury. The Ayran wasn’t really my thing, but I can see how it would be popular and it is definitely worth trying.

However, there’s no denying that M.I.A.B.’s odd placement might hurt its bottom line. The parking is limited and you almost have to know exactly when to turn off or you’ll miss it completely. Once you get inside, the interior is almost impeccably white save for a few orange-painted bricks and Roy Lichtenstein posters. This is not a bad thing (unless you don’t like Roy Lichtenstein), but since there doesn’t seem to be that much foot-traffic, it’s not very likely that people will be driving over from outside the Falls Church City area to get a piece of Persia.

Nevertheless, if you’re hungry, in need of something relatively healthy and there happens to be an open parking spot, swing into the lot and get some M.I.A.B. to go, because nothing makes the Ayatollah madder than citizens of the Great Satan enjoying Persian food outside the native land.

Meat In A Box

312 South Washington Street, Falls Church

703-533-9070

Hours:

Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.