Kazan Restaurant

Middle Eastern
$$$$ ($15-$24)

Editorial Review

The dimly lit dining room and background Turkish music make it perfect for a little intrigue -- perhaps one reason why it's a popular destination for CIA employees (it's also conveniently located in the heart of McLean, not far from CIA headquarters). The diners are a curious mix; at lunch, there's often a table of clubwomen seated next to a group of male government officials. And at dinner, conversations at many of the tables are in foreign languages.
Although Kazan serves some continental entrees, the Turkish dishes shine, particularly the melt-in-your mouth doner kebab (served Wednesdays and Fridays at lunch and dinner and Saturday at dinner only). Doner kebab is marinated lamb and veal, cooked over an open flame and served in a rich yogurt sauce over chunks of sauteed pita bread. On nights when it isn't available, there are plenty of other delicious lamb dishes to chose from, as well as a selection of fish entrees, including swordfish.
It's a rare meal that ends without the waiter bringing a little something extra -- either a small plate of treats (usually very sweet, often the case with Middle Eastern desserts) or a digestif of pomegranate and banana liqueurs.
-- Caroline Mayer