Restaurant Review - What about Kabob?

During the neighborhood barbecues of my childhood, shish kebobs were instruments of torture. Impaled on bamboo sticks that never failed to splinter, the grilled meats were as tender and appetizing as river rocks. Vegetable kabobs consisted mostly of peppers, which, despite charred exteriors, always remained completely raw. You'd just as soon eat a handful of dirt. So it was with a fair amount of trepidation that we visited Bob's Kabobs on a friend's recommendation. However, this friendly joint in a Vinings shopping mall produces delicacies that don't bear even the slightest resemblance to the backyard nasties of yesteryear.Globe trotting: Graced with dark, sand-colored walls and a large-scale version of the business's logo emblazoned above the roomy booths, Bob's is more comfortable and pleasing to the eye than your typical quick-bite spots. The menu reflects modern culinary trends, with items such as aioli, wasabi, tamarind and remoulade featured in sauces and marinades. A variety of salads — from Southern-style Bob's salad ($5.45) of romaine, cheddar, cucumber, tomato and carrots, to the always-classic Greek salad ($5.45) — are a refreshing way to start the meal. Pita-heads can find satisfaction with the combo ($3.95) of toasted pita wedges, tzatziki, potently garlicky hummus, and a pungent, mouthwatering tapenade. Bob's dip ($3.95) — warm, creamy and the stuff of cravings — features spinach, artichoke hearts and cheese. Put this on your skewer and grill it: The Mediterranean swordfish kabob ($6.45) is grilled just enough. It's tantalizingly smoky but juicy, paired with a lime-dill aioli sauce that adds a nice, rich edge to the lean fish. Asian tuna kabobs ($6.45) are tender from a gingery soy-based marinade, and their accompanying creamy wasabi sauce is lick-the-plate tasty. Smoothly spiced and tongue-tickling tangy, the tamarind pork kabob ($5.95) is reminiscent of a good curry, but fresher and lighter with a spicy mango sauce. White meat is featured in the Mediterranean chicken kabob ($5.95), but it's still succulent and packed with sweet, herby juices. The veggie kabob included with all kabob orders is hearty, smoky and satisfying, with wedges of zucchini, onion and peppers alternated with cherry tomatoes. Gyro-mania: For the Atkins set and those who want one of everything, Bob's offers a low-carb combo ($6.45). With three meat kabobs, one made of veggies and an optional side salad (add $1.30), the combo makes for a hefty, healthy meal. Gyro baskets ($5.95) are a celebration of tzatziki's inherent deliciousness. A cushiony pita is lovely, piled with crispy-edged meat best described as Philly lamb steak. The generous hand of tzatziki, cool with dill and cucumbers, adds a saucy edge to the basket. There's enough of the scrumptious sauce for dipping with fries and mopping up with the chunks of tomato, cucumber and red onion. You can end your meal on a sweet note with a diamond of baklava ($1.50). The layered phyllo sweet at Bob's isn't much different from the standard falafel house version, but it's a sticky, crispy treat that pleases. The first trip to Bob's wore away at my traumatic shish kebob memories. A second visit obliterated even a vague fear of food on sticks. Thanks to Bob's, kebobs top my list of favorite feasts. Now if only I could get over that phobia of liver and onions.

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