by Mike Sula
Someone once told me time is a flat circle, so, with respect to the address at least, it shouldn't surprise me that its successor has opened because of a rancorous legal dispute between brothers. It was just over a year ago that Reza Toulabi, owner of the three properties upon which the venerable Persian minichain Reza's sits, sued his brother Joseph, owner of the restaurants themselves, claiming Joseph had threatened to kill him and burn down the joints over a back rent dispute.
Joseph, aka Joe, regrouped, and it's good news for this stretch of Kedzie Avenue, which in recent years has seen its once proud coterie of Middle Eastern restaurants steadily degrade—that's except for the Persian Noon-O-Kabob, whose success endures long after it became the poster child for the Check, Please! effect. As the only other Persian restaurant in the neighborhood, Toulabi's Kabobi Grill is challenging Noon-O-Kabob's hegemony with a tightly focused menu of massive kabob-and-rice platters.
There's something aesthetically royal in the arrangement of these trenchers. A round aluminum tray is lined with thin lavosh, upon which a pair of long kabobs, ranging from ground sirloin, to ground lamb, chicken or turkey breast, filet mignon, or salmon, repose beside an insurmountable mound of white or dill rice mixed with fava beans, a split grilled tomato, and a foil-wrapped pat of putter. It's a tremendous amount of food for a small outlay, ranging from $8.95 to $10.95, with a 95-cent up charge for sides of roasted red pepper or cilantro tahini, or cucumber yogurt.