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The grill at Rural Society
The grill at Rural Society
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Find Barbecue From Around the World Without Leaving Home

DC's international barbecue scene is a solid one

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The grill at Rural Society
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The primal combination of meat plus fire equals the world’s very first food pairing.

That’s why nearly every culture has a style of barbecue. Some use marinades so spot on that they’ve stood the test of time. The combination of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and garlic that coats bulgogi, for example, should be a Korean natural treasure. In Jamaica, they favor a fiery dry rub most popularly found on chicken.

Others have a deep-seated tradition of using skewers to get the job done like satay from Indonesia or sish kebab from Turkey. Or they rely on a certain type of grill to impart the right amount of char such as a parilla for Argentinian asado or a robata grill for Japanese kushi.

Now that summer’s blazing, stoves and ovens are relegated to the back burner because everyone’s firing up the grill. Here’s where to find 10 barbecue dishes from around the world right here in D.C.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ankara

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1320 19th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 293-6301
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What: Şiş kebab from Turkey
Where: Ankara marinates chicken, lamb, and beef in a mix of onion, garlic, red, pepper, and salt before stringing the cubes of meat onto a şiş (Turkish for skewer or sword). The skewers are then fire grilled until tender. Each comes with a side of rice to make an entrée at the Dupont Circle Turkish restaurant.

2. Mandu

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453 K St NW, Washington
D.C., 20001
(202) 289-6899
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What: Bulgogi from Korea
Where: When going to Annandale for a long session of searing meat at a table isn’t an option, there’s Mandu who does the cooking from start to finish. Danny and “Mama” Lee serve Korea’s signature BBQ selections including bulgogi (grilled slices of ribeye that get boost from a sesame, soy and sugar marinade). Bulgogi, it turns out, translates to “fire meat,” according to Mandu's chef and owner Danny Lee.

3. Pimento Grill

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4405 Bowen Rd SE
Washington, D.C. 20019
(202) 582-6595
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What: Jerk chicken from Jamaica
Where: “Jerk” refers to a seasoning used on charred barbecue, and at Pimento Grill dishes coated in the spice blend come with a heat warning. One of the lead players in the fiery rub is a form of allspice that Jamaicans call “pimento,” hence the name of the restaurant. Though most traditionally associated with chicken, Pimento Grill also serves jerk tilapia, jerk salmon, and jerk shrimp in sandwich form or as “rasta pasta.”

4. Purple Patch

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3155 Mount Pleasant St NW
Washington, D.C. 20010
(202) 299-0022
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What: Lechón from the Philippines
Where: Purple Patch owner Patrice Cleary has fond memories of her father stuffing a whole pig with herbs and vegetables before roasting over charcoal. The crispy-skin feast that followed, known as lechón, is not only a national dish of the Philippines but also the centerpiece of every big celebration. Cleary takes a few shortcuts to make the lechon kawali at Purple Patch— braising and deep frying pieces of pork belly— but the result is the same. The dish is served with Mang Tomas sauce and papaya salad.

5. Rural Society

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1177 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 587-2629
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What: Asado from Uruguay and Argentina
Where: The Argentinian-style parilla grill tended to by Louis Goral is the pulsating heart of Rural Society. There are even five seats at a kitchen counter that face the flames for those who want to watch chefs play with fire during dinner. Goral throws everything on the grill from hanger steak and dry aged New York strip to stuffed pork tenderloin, double cut lamb chops, and jumbo Gulf prawns.

6. Sate Indonesian Food

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What: Satay from Indonesia
Where: The food truck from Satay Sarinah stands out when it comes to the traditional Indonesian appetizer, also popular in other parts of Southeast Asia. The truck hawks the savory peanut sauce coated grilled chicken sticks with jasmine rice, corn fritters, and salad. They come out a brilliant shade of orange with char marks in all the right places.

7. Spice Xing

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100 Gibbs St Unit B
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 610-0303
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What: Tandoori from India
Where: India and parts of Pakistan use a clay tandoor oven to cook meat such as chicken and lamb. Sometimes skewers are inserted into the mouth of the oven and cooked on skewers over embers.. Try various types of tandoori at Spice Xing including yogurt marinated tandoori chicken, tandoori wings, and tandoori salmon. When the meal is nearly done, cap things off with tandoori pineapple for dessert.

8. Toro Toro

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1300 I (Eye) Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 682-9500
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What: Churrasco from Brazil
Where: Meat coming off the grill at Latin steakhouse, Toro Toro is served according to the all-you can-eat tradition of rodízio. Servers tote churrasco skewers of steak, chorizo, lamb, and chicken to tables and carve them for guests. Though a major part of Brazilian food culture, neighboring countries also use the word churrasco to describe flame kissed meats.

9. Zentan

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1155 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 379-4366
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What: Kushi from Japan
Where: Chef Yo Matsuzaki has a robata grill at Zentan, enabling him to cook traditional Japanese kushi (skewers). The grill is special because it uses bincho charcoal, which doesn’t overpower food with a smoky flavor. Choices include meat and vegetables such as smoked duck breast, chicken thigh, pork jowl, asparagus, and spring onion.

10. Zorba's Cafe

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1612 20th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 387-8555
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What: Souvlaki from Greece
Where:The Greeks are known to be some of the first grillers. Fortunately, the grill at Zorba’s Café is a little more sophisticated than the first “firedogs.” The Dupont Circle restaurant, enjoying more than 30 years in operation, serves Greece’s signature, skewered souvlaki (pork or chicken) on a plate with pita, fries, and a side of tzatziki. Also try it as a pita sandwich or in a salad. The secret to the flavor is a marinade of Greek spices.

1. Ankara

1320 19th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
What: Şiş kebab from Turkey
Where: Ankara marinates chicken, lamb, and beef in a mix of onion, garlic, red, pepper, and salt before stringing the cubes of meat onto a şiş (Turkish for skewer or sword). The skewers are then fire grilled until tender. Each comes with a side of rice to make an entrée at the Dupont Circle Turkish restaurant.
1320 19th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

2. Mandu

453 K St NW, Washington, D.C., 20001
What: Bulgogi from Korea
Where: When going to Annandale for a long session of searing meat at a table isn’t an option, there’s Mandu who does the cooking from start to finish. Danny and “Mama” Lee serve Korea’s signature BBQ selections including bulgogi (grilled slices of ribeye that get boost from a sesame, soy and sugar marinade). Bulgogi, it turns out, translates to “fire meat,” according to Mandu's chef and owner Danny Lee.
453 K St NW, Washington
D.C., 20001

3. Pimento Grill

4405 Bowen Rd SE, Washington, D.C. 20019
What: Jerk chicken from Jamaica
Where: “Jerk” refers to a seasoning used on charred barbecue, and at Pimento Grill dishes coated in the spice blend come with a heat warning. One of the lead players in the fiery rub is a form of allspice that Jamaicans call “pimento,” hence the name of the restaurant. Though most traditionally associated with chicken, Pimento Grill also serves jerk tilapia, jerk salmon, and jerk shrimp in sandwich form or as “rasta pasta.”
4405 Bowen Rd SE
Washington, D.C. 20019

4. Purple Patch

3155 Mount Pleasant St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010
What: Lechón from the Philippines
Where: Purple Patch owner Patrice Cleary has fond memories of her father stuffing a whole pig with herbs and vegetables before roasting over charcoal. The crispy-skin feast that followed, known as lechón, is not only a national dish of the Philippines but also the centerpiece of every big celebration. Cleary takes a few shortcuts to make the lechon kawali at Purple Patch— braising and deep frying pieces of pork belly— but the result is the same. The dish is served with Mang Tomas sauce and papaya salad.
3155 Mount Pleasant St NW
Washington, D.C. 20010

5. Rural Society

1177 15th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
What: Asado from Uruguay and Argentina
Where: The Argentinian-style parilla grill tended to by Louis Goral is the pulsating heart of Rural Society. There are even five seats at a kitchen counter that face the flames for those who want to watch chefs play with fire during dinner. Goral throws everything on the grill from hanger steak and dry aged New York strip to stuffed pork tenderloin, double cut lamb chops, and jumbo Gulf prawns.
1177 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

6. Sate Indonesian Food

Washington, D.C. 20006
What: Satay from Indonesia
Where: The food truck from Satay Sarinah stands out when it comes to the traditional Indonesian appetizer, also popular in other parts of Southeast Asia. The truck hawks the savory peanut sauce coated grilled chicken sticks with jasmine rice, corn fritters, and salad. They come out a brilliant shade of orange with char marks in all the right places.

7. Spice Xing

100 Gibbs St Unit B, Rockville, MD 20850
What: Tandoori from India
Where: India and parts of Pakistan use a clay tandoor oven to cook meat such as chicken and lamb. Sometimes skewers are inserted into the mouth of the oven and cooked on skewers over embers.. Try various types of tandoori at Spice Xing including yogurt marinated tandoori chicken, tandoori wings, and tandoori salmon. When the meal is nearly done, cap things off with tandoori pineapple for dessert.
100 Gibbs St Unit B
Rockville, MD 20850

8. Toro Toro

1300 I (Eye) Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
What: Churrasco from Brazil
Where: Meat coming off the grill at Latin steakhouse, Toro Toro is served according to the all-you can-eat tradition of rodízio. Servers tote churrasco skewers of steak, chorizo, lamb, and chicken to tables and carve them for guests. Though a major part of Brazilian food culture, neighboring countries also use the word churrasco to describe flame kissed meats.
1300 I (Eye) Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

9. Zentan

1155 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
What: Kushi from Japan
Where: Chef Yo Matsuzaki has a robata grill at Zentan, enabling him to cook traditional Japanese kushi (skewers). The grill is special because it uses bincho charcoal, which doesn’t overpower food with a smoky flavor. Choices include meat and vegetables such as smoked duck breast, chicken thigh, pork jowl, asparagus, and spring onion.
1155 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

10. Zorba's Cafe

1612 20th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
What: Souvlaki from Greece
Where:The Greeks are known to be some of the first grillers. Fortunately, the grill at Zorba’s Café is a little more sophisticated than the first “firedogs.” The Dupont Circle restaurant, enjoying more than 30 years in operation, serves Greece’s signature, skewered souvlaki (pork or chicken) on a plate with pita, fries, and a side of tzatziki. Also try it as a pita sandwich or in a salad. The secret to the flavor is a marinade of Greek spices.
1612 20th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

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