● By Style
Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
Despite the diverse fine dining explosion in our area over the last few years, there still seems to be an apparent lack of Middle Eastern cuisine, whose warm, distinct saffron-scented delicacies remains unrivaled (in my personal cuisine playbook) in the culinary world.
That void, thankfully, is one restaurant smaller with the opening of Bubba Kababa, owned and operated by Mamad Nafissi and his wife, Lana, after retiring from a successful business career.
Sleek white leather booths and dark wood contrast the decorative samovars and pottery accents in a timeless dance of elegance. Many of the dishes are cooked over an open fire in the modern kitchen; guests are treated to a partially open view through the glass partitions of the chefs hard at work.
Various kabobs grill over open fire
We started the meal with orders of Baba Ghanoush – grilled eggplant and tomato sauce puréed with garlic – and California Style Shirazi Salad – a cucumber and tomato based salad tossed with citrus and spices – which came accompanied by flatbread and finely sliced onions drizzled with lemon juice and oil. Washed down with fragrant tea, these starters were nearly enough to satiate me completely.
Next came the entrées however, and I found I couldn’t help but roll up my sleeves and get to work. The special that day was Cornish Game Hen, and if you’ve never tried (or imagined) the delicate bird in kabob form, then you’re definitely in for a treat. My dining partner opted for the house favorite, the Phat Queen, Bubba Kababa’s grandly named version of Chicken Soltani – a combination of chicken kabob and chicken koobideh (chicken that is minced and combined with spices) – marinated and grilled to perfection.
Both dishes were served alongside a whole grilled tomato and fluffy, saffron-colored basmati rice and flatbread. The kabobs were moist, well portioned, and left me licking the remnants of the marinade off my fingers.
As we reluctantly finished our dinner, bellies warm from the influx of spices, we were happy to learn that Bubba Kababa often hosts live late-night entertainment, such as belly dancers and musical acts. Personally, I’d take any excuse to return.
Bubba Kababa, 8405 Sierra College Boulevard, Granite Bay, 916-771-5252, facebook.com/bubbakababa.
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