The source of the signature kebabs at Tash on Capitol Hill also inspires the young restaurant’s name: In Persian dialect, tash translates to “flame,” as in charcoal fire, says Vanessa Lim. She’s the wife of owner Nariman Modanlou and says she’s “helping out” at Tash as she prepares to open a second branch of her pan-Asian Nooshi downtown — conveniently just one floor up from Tash.
Modanlou brings street cred to his restaurant. Iranian by birth, he’s also the owner of Moby Dick House of Kabob in Ashburn. That’s a diner’s cue to dip into the smoky baba ghanouj and forge on with lamb kubideh, a rope of ground meat freckled with parsley, garlic and peppercorns and presented with fragrant rice dotted with lima beans. But you might want to crowd the table as well with Tash’s very good olive dip. Made with ground walnuts and tomato sauce, the appetizer is meant to be mopped up with hot-from-the-oven pita. Do not, however, waste your time on the dull fried chicken drumsticks.