Review: Moby Dick House of Kabob

Real-deal kabobs at Moby Dick are memorably delicious.

Corey McLaughlin - December 2018

Review: Moby Dick House of Kabob

Real-deal kabobs at Moby Dick are memorably delicious.

Corey McLaughlin - December 2018


Moby Dick's gyro and hummus. -Kate Grewal

Let’s start with the name, Moby Dick. Not every restaurant is named after an epic piece of American literature, and the title’s attention-grabbing use is even more interesting when you consider it’s for a Persian fast-casual restaurant. The inspiration is of the second order.

The franchise’s founder, Iranian immigrant Mike Daryoush, loved a famous restaurant of the same name in his country’s capital of Tehran, whose owner was rumored to be a fan of Herman Melville and his classic 1851 novel about a sailor’s obsessive revenge quest for the white whale that maimed him.

The restaurant itself—whose tagline is “House of Kabob”—operates as a first-floor tenant at the magnificently renovated Rotunda property at 727 West 40th Street in Hampden. The space is modern and bright, and late last year welcomed Moby Dick’s first foray into Baltimore. The Washington, D.C.-headquartered chain has 22 other stores in that area, with another recently opened at Festival at Woodholme in Pikesville.

The first things the uninitiated should know about the place is that Moby Dick is easily approachable, and its signature kabobs are not served on a stick, but they are cooked on them—the authentic Middle Eastern way. (Yes, our summer grilled kabobs served on a skewer are an American invention.)

At Moby’s, the meats—beef, chicken, lamb, and fish with plump roasted tomatoes—sit on a recycled plate, designed for plastic knife-and-fork consumption, and come with a choice of rice, salad, or both. For neatniks, the presentation is ideal for an office lunch or casual dinner—no grease or anything too oily, save a perfect small dollop of butter on the rice.

Think Samos, the Greek chain, except Persian and with a much larger menu. (I counted 57 items in all.)

The first time my wife and I visited, our cashier recommended the more-than-satisfying “No. II” combo, which includes chicken and fresh sirloin kabobs, the latter ground with onion, both marinated and slowly grilled. My wife had a salmon and chicken combo, and, after her first bite, immediately said we should return.

There’s also a variety of sandwiches, salads, more appetizers such as falafel, self-serve fountain sodas, and Middle-Eastern desserts like baklava. All are generously portioned. Whatever you order, be sure to enjoy the slices of complimentary clay oven-cooked pita bread and try the house-made hummus.

On another outing, I tried the gyro—beef, with crisp lettuce, tomato, onion, and feta cheese crumbles blanketed in a warm pita, and served with a side of creamy yogurt cucumber sauce. It was delectable.

Daryoush, the owner, originally opened a traditional American luncheonette in Bethesda in 1989. But it struggled to turn a profit and offered nothing unique, so he switched approaches to make the food he knew, with the style and Persian-style spices he loved. Almost 30 years and more than 20 stores later, we’d say he made the right choice.


›› MOBY DICK HOUSE OF KABOB 727 W. 40th St., 443-438-3692. Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. noon-9 p.m.





You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Crust by Mack; Le Comptoir du Vin; The Haute Dog Carte

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Bon Fresco; Roll Ice Cream; Heritage Smokehouse; Minnow

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: Should Restaurants Have Dress Codes?

Plus, Le Comptoir du Vin praised by Bon Appétit, visiting True Chesapeake Oyster Co., and best bites.


Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: The History of Smith Island Cake

Plus, Limoncello sets grand opening date, a new German basement bar, and best bites this week.

In Good Taste

Local Bread Subscriptions Are Making Fresh Loaves More Accessible Than Ever

These pre-paid methods are the best thing on the market since, well, sliced bread.

On The Town

Farmacy Brings a True Farm Brewery Experience to Baltimore County

Located on a working horse farm, the facility uses ingredients straight from the fields.

Connect With Us

Most Read


History of Baltimore's Bygone Synagogues Captured in New Plein Air Art Exhibit: Collection of oil paintings on view at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation through October 28.

New City Council Bill Could Ban Plastic Bag Use Across Baltimore: A vote next week could set in motion a bill that reaches the mayor’s desk.

Cardinal Art Walks Explore Works Outside of the Gallery's Bolton Hill Walls: The ongoing fall exhibition is meant to make participants see the city in a new way.

The Mare Projects Connects Communities in the African Diaspora: Works from their first-ever residency program will be on display at Gallery CA.

The Book Thing Starts Next Chapter Under New Management: Here’s what to know when planning a visit to Baltimore’s free-to-all bookshop.