Kabsa The Divine Dish
By Paula E. Kirman
Some people have commented after entering Kabsa, that they felt like they were walking into a scene from the movie Clockwork Orange. I have to admit I have never seen that film, but there is certainly a surreal atmosphere to the place. Perhaps it has something to do with the pervasive white tiles and the plastic bucket seats (also white).
The subdued interior belies the fact that Kabsa serves up some incredibly pungent and flavourful Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. A kabsa is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that combines stewed meats or chicken with vegetables and rice. It is apparently especially popular in Saudi Arabia.
Here on Jasper Avenue, Kabsa offers a "divine dish" with at its base a generous portion of tender, stewed veggies that are practically falling apart in a tomato-based sauce and tri-coloured rice flavoured with rose and saffron. These two staples accompany most of the menu selections. Each dish also comes with the option of two sides: chopped salad (a medley of diced raw cucumbers, tomatoes, and other veggies), cucumber and yogurt, and homemade hot sauce.
Meals are served up cafeteria style, and the menu varies daily. Some of the dishes that appear frequently include the tender beef stew, made up of grade A Alberta beef, and a lamb dish with green beans. Kabsa is especially known for its chicken kabsa, which includes either a half or quarter chicken slow roasted in a variety of seasonings. The outside is crisp, while the inside is juicy and tender. You won't need a knife to get this bird away from the bone.
The salad and sauce compliment the meal, and even taste great mixed in with the rice. All of the food is very fresh and prepared with care and attention. This is the kind of food that is prepared in small batches, so if they run out of something, it could be a while before there is more available. So be forewarned that the place is getting to be very popular with the downtown lunch crowd.
All of the meats and veggies at Kabsa are organic. Vegetarians can enjoy a heaping helping of stewed veggies and rice. Most meals are around $10, with a dollar or so difference between lunch and dinner portions, which include an even larger helping of rice and veggies. Fresh, fast, and delicious - Kabsa is definitely worth a visit.
<b>Kabsa The Divine Dish</b>
10345 Jasper Avenue