Late Night Eats at a Sudanese err…Pizza Trattoria?
The Spot: El Khartoum (aka Pizzeria Trattoria) 1782 Florida Ave. NW, (202) 986-1900
The Cuisine: Sudanese, Middle-Eastern, Pizza
The Go-To Dish: Beef or chicken shawarma...after dark
The Scoop: As the clock slowly ticked on toward midnight on a recent cold weekday evening in Adams Morgan, my stomach began to alert me that it was time for a snack. I was with friends and we made our way out onto the corner of Florida Avenue and U Street NW, the remedy to my hunger became clear and a few steps away: late night shawarma at El Khartoum.
It had been a few years since I had been there and for a second I thought the unthinkable had happened—El Khartoum, the Sudanese-owned late-night greasy spoon, no longer existed. The restaurant's awning had been changed and instead donned the name "Pizzeria Trattoria." I walked inside to find the same decor and menu as I had remembered at El Khartoum and asked the guy behind the counter if I was in the right place. He informed me it was still called El Khartoum and the menu was the same. But he said it was also called Pizzeria Trattoria, because they now deliver pizza. Confused as all hell, but relieved, I ordered a chicken shawarma off the hot meat skewer behind the counter.
After my first bite, nostalgia from my previous visit came laced with tahini and added a comfortable warmth to the end of what was a terrific night. But the pita was too soft and crumbled while I ate it and the meat could have used additional spices. But for midnight snack on a weekday for only $6.50, it hit the spot.
The Verdict: It's ironic that I had Scott Reitz's recent Young & Hungry post on Budweiser still fresh in my head when I ventured out to El Khartoum. Just like Reitz's admission that while craft beers are great, sometimes a good 'ole fashioned Bud does just the trick. Well, that's how I feel about El Khartoum. As a late-night snack option, El Khartoum aka Pizzeria Trattoria aka whatever the hell they decide to call themselves next, is just right.
Photos by Andrew George