Last week, in response to our post about Falafel Cafe, loyal blog fan Janica sent us this question:

“Have you been to Taboon Noon o Kabab in Hoover yet? It’s next to Mandarin House, where Purple Onion and Chick’n’Out once were.”

We chatted back and forth about the place. She had only positive things to say and recommended the kubideh, a Persian dish of minced beef (80% meat and 20% fat according to this article) shaped into a kebab and grilled. We’ve had this before, at the Persian restaurant we used to love in NYC, but never in Bham. We knew we needed to investigate.

So this weekend, between Sidewalk features, we made our way south on I-65. It was only about 12 minutes from downtown, not too far at all.

As Janica told us, Taboon Noon o Kebab is located next to Mandarin House, at 1550 Montgomery Highway. Here’s the outside:

When we walked in, we were greeted warmly by a man we would later learn was Adnan, the owner, and by a woman behind the cash register. You order at the counter:

And at the counter, you can peer through the window into the kitchen to see this beauty:

More about that in a moment.

We decided to order the Soltani special so we could try that kubideh (all beef-which the owner also recommended), the chicken kebab (a classic), AND the beef kebab (Mr Foodie’s favorite type of kebab).

Of course, we had to try the hummus and yogurt salad too. We grabbed those from the case. Everything is made in house, they told us.

Moments later some amazing looking bread appeared on a tray, to go with the hummus:

I put my nose up to it-it smelled amazing. Immediately, we asked if the bread was homemade. It was. Adnan told me it has black seeds in it, which gives the bread a slightly speckled appearance. “Who makes all of this?” I asked. A woman named Rasha, Adnan’s wife, waved at me from the kitchen.
No sooner had we ordered than I noticed two spinach pies at the table where Adnan had been sitting where we arrived.  Spinach pie is one of our favorite foods. These were homemade too-the only time I’ve ever seen homemade spinach pies in the ‘Ham. We went back to the register to add that to our order, too.

We eagerly sat down to snack on our hummus and bread. That bread-wow. Soft, slightly salty, full of flavors that I couldn’t quite identify – maybe related to those seeds. Went perfectly with the hummus, which was very smooth, creamy, citrusy, and honestly, truly beautuful, even in that plastic container:

It also went great with the yogurt salad, which contained diced cucumbers and was light and refreshing.

Next, the spinach pies arrived. They were clearly hand-crafted. Soft dough, stuffed with a light spinach filling. The whole thing is just so pillow-y and satisfying. We devoured them. These are undoubtedly the best spinach pies we’ve ever had.

By this point we could hardly sit still, we were so excited. Then the main course came.

They were kind enough to split the order into 2 plates and give us some extra rice and bread. Here’s what it looked like:

That half-moon shaped bread was hiding some pretty amazing-looking chicken and kubideh kebabs:

Wow. First of all, both were incredibly juicy and tender. The kubideh was so moist with just the right amount of fat to meat ratio, it just melts in your mouth. And the chicken had just the right amount of char on it:

Finally, hidden under another half moon of bread:

Beef kebab!

Perfectly cooked. Great piece of meat, and great char. Fantastic.

What a meal. And what a wonderful place, with wonderful people. I knew I needed a little more information about the back-story, so I did the thing I almost never do-I told them about the blog and asked for a little more information.

The first question I asked was how and why they decided to open a restaurant. Adnan replied “I’m the Purple Onion guy!” I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity-Purple Onions are a big deal. But I had to sheepishly admit that I’ve never been to one…. so I asked how this place differs. He explained that it’s completely different-Tandoon Noon o Kebab serves authentic Persian food, while Purple Onion is a mix of Middle Eastern and American. And, unlike Purple Onion, it’s only been open for one weekend.

I had to ask the meaning of the restaurant’s name. “Taboon” is the name of the oven, which was brought all the way from Jordan to Vestavia by ship. “Noon” means “bread.” “O” means “and.” And  kebab is, well, kebab. So the name of the restaurant literally means Oven Bread and Kebab. A more perfect description of this restaurant, I cannot imagine.

Hours: 7 days a week! 10:30am-10pm.