Legend goes that long ago in the region around Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey, some resourceful soldiers had the notion to cook pieces of meat on the ends of their swords -- and shish kebab (shish, meaning sword; kebab meaning roasted meat) was born.

Here are some prime local sources.

PITA HOUSE
100-27 S. Jersey Ave., East Setauket
631-675-9051, pita-house.com

At this hidden spot (Heritage Square, behind Wild by Nature off Route 25A), chicken and lamb kebabs are juicy and savory; Adana kebabs and garlicky, fiery minced beef and lamb Beyti kebabs rate just as highly.

SURF 'N TURF
2205 Merrick Rd., Merrick
516-992-0918, surfnturfgrill.com

Here, the ultra-flavorsome kofte are made with a combination of beef and lamb. Even the white meat chicken kebabs are moist and satisfying.

ISTANBUL CAFE
2139 Middle Country Rd., Centereach
631-738-6704

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Adroitly spiced kebabs define this strip mall Turkish spot. Both lamb and chicken kebabs excel; Inegol kofte features spiced ground beef rendered fluffy by a little baking soda.