Whole Package

August 23, 2012

Chicken and beef kabobs come in a box at the aptly named Meat in a Box.

There’s a certain reaction I usually get when I talk about the restaurant and takeout place in Falls Church called Meat in a Box (312 S. Washington St., 703-533-9070). There’s the sly grin. The throat-clearing. The awkward giggle. And the obvious questions: “Does it have anything to do with the ‘SNL’ song of, um, a similar name?” and “Do they really serve meat in a box?”

“A lot of people ask me” those questions, says good-humored Nadia Shahgoli, who, with her husband, opened Meat in a Box three years ago. “They think we’re either crazy or brilliant. The name has nothing to do with ‘SNL.’ ” The owners simply thought “Meat in a Box” was a fun, attention-grabbing name for their Persian eatery, which serves well-seasoned skewers of beef and chicken, along with garlicky hummus and other specialties. Much of the food is, as promised, served in cardboard boxes.

Meat in a Box has an unlikely standout: homemade saffron and rosewater-infused ice cream ($4). The custardy, pale-yellow ice cream, served between wafers, is delicate, floral and refreshing, and it reminds me of old-fashioned violet “pastilles” candies. (My husband seems to agree, noting, “It tastes like a grandparent’s house. In a good way!”) That nostalgic, subtle flavor is ironic in a place with such a bold, literal moniker. But the dessert fits right in: It comes in a box.

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