Badaro Lebanese: 933 N Quincy St, Arlington, VA 22203; (703) 348-7700; https://www.eatbadaro.com
This place opened earlier this year and has not been much reviewed yet, so we thought we’d mention it. It’s in the space that Naked/NKD Pizza occupied before it closed last year. Badaro is named after a street in Beirut that’s busy with nightlife. What does that have to do with a lunch-and-dinner spot between the Virginia Square and Ballston Metro stops? Not much; they just liked the name (and are open for dinner).
It’s one of those build-a-bowl places. We start with a bowl of greens and add chicken shawarma, spicy hummus, diced cucumbers and tomato, grilled onion and chickpeas. (They were out of pickled cauliflower.) Also a dollop of tzatziki sauce and a side of two sambousas, which is beef samosa with a different spelling and wrapped in a thin layer of phyllo dough (described here as “Arabic egg roll”).
They shave the shawarma off of a vertical, rotating spit, which is always a nice touch. The spicy hummus is fine but doesn’t have much kick, and the sambousa is great — just spicy enough and not too bready.
We also try something called Ayran Yogurt Drink. It doesn’t contain much sugar, if the info on the label is to be believed, but the taste is somehow sickly sweet. It’s also got “active live cultures” in it, so maybe there’s a probiotic benefit. Anyway, the yogurt drink might best be enjoyed with a very spicy dish or something dry like kibbi, and would also work as a coffee sweetener. They also sell Vimto and “imported baklava.” (Why imported and not homemade? The kitchen here is bigger than the seating area. Or at least domestic, for that matter.)
So it’s a solid if underwhelming place for a high-protein salad or do-it-yourself gyro, and this no-man’s-land between the Metro stops needs all the restaurant options it can get.