Friday, June 14, 2013

Inchin Bamboo Garden- The Ultimate Worst Experience

Restaurant- Inchin Bamboo Garden
5106 Great Northern Mall, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070
Buffet or a-la-carte? Both
Date of Visit: 6/2/13

Salam/Hello guys! Welcome to my latest review of Inchin's Bamboo Garden. This is a restaurant chain that is located across America. They have locations in Atlanta, Austin, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, Lawrenceville New Jersey, Raleigh, San Francisco, and Seattle. This post reviews the location in Cleveland. The Cleveland location is in the suburb of North Olmsted. It is considered to be one of the main mall restaurants, as it is adjacent to the Westfield Great Northern mall. This was the last meal I had on my vacation before returning to Houston. My aunt had recommended me the restaurant, as she is a regular customer along with all my cousins. I was hopeful it was good, and it would remind me of the amazing Gulf Royal Chinese restaurant back in my hometown for 12 years, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. There, the food was amazing and was considered to be one of my many favorite restaurants there. It was located just 10 minuted from their house. I had plenty of time before my 6:30 flight back to Houston, so I wasn't panicking. After I finished my packing, we drove off to the restaurant.

Let the Experience Begin:
The restaurant was located next to Tadka Indian Cuisine. It had a very dark setting to create the feeling of ambiance and being in a high-end restaurant. We were greeted by a emotionless waiter. All he said was "Hello", "Follow me please", and "What would you like to drink? No emotion. No smile. Couldn't he be more lively? Like say "Welcome to Inchin's" or actually engage in conversation with the customers. Now don't get me wrong. I am spoiled by restaurants that actually have good service, where the waiter/waitresses are friendly and professional and would actually say proper sentences when addressing the customers with emotion, not say short sentences. In front of our table was a dosa (spicy crepe) station, headed by the only friendly employee. She was very lively and kept the customers engaged while she was making the dosas. Oh snap! For the first time since the first review (found here), INDIAN FOOD! After all the times of enjoying cuisines from Italian (Crespos) to Caribbean (D'Caribbean), it was back to my traditional home-cooked food. As an Indian, I can judge whether the food is like my mom's home cooking or just reheated spiceless crap. Heck, there have been Indian restaurants that I have been to here in the USA that are as delicious as my mom's cooking (all pre-blog times, sorry). This is going to turn out to be interesting. 

Let's Eat:
We all decided to take the weekend buffet. Along with the Indian food, there was a Chinese stand. The Indian food consisted of Chicken curry, Lamb Curry, Hyderabadi biryani, Tandoori Chicken, Idli (rice dumplings), sambar (spicy lentils curry), paneer (cottage cheese) and aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry). The Chinese food consisted of Chicken Drumsticks called Drumsticks of Heaven, vegetarian noodles, Szechuan Chicken, and Szechuan fish. I always had the rule that for every multi-cuisine buffet, one helping = one cuisine. So one helping consisted of Indian food and one helping of Chinese food. The buffet was quiet expensive: $9.95. In Houston, the nearest buffet to my house (Review coming soon) is maximum $7.95. The buffet is not everyday. It is only for lunch on weekends and also for parties. Every other time, it is a-la-carte. Refills of water were done on a regular basis, but the people were emotionless. Note: Alcohol is served, but not used in food.

Menu for a-la-carte (PDF required): Inchin's Bamboo Gardens Cleveland Menu

Buffet pics:

The Buffet spread with my cousin taking food

Chinese Dish (noodles, Drumsticks, Szechuan Chicken)

Indian Dish (Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Curry, Lamb Curry, Biryani)

Dosa Station

The Verdict:
So the food was good like the previous day in Dearborn (review found here) right? WRONG! It was a 180 degree turn. The food was just pathetic! Not just one cuisine, both. The noodles were bland, the Szechuan chicken was tasteless and the Drumsticks of Heaven was like the Drumsticks of Hell. Biryani is my favorite Indian dish, but this one was one of the worst I have ever had. It had no flavor whatsoever. The tandoori chicken was bland, and both curries was not spicy at all. I bet everything on the buffet spread was reheated constantly. Is it really that hard for them to make fresh food during the entire buffet time? There are buffets back in Houston where everything is fresh and tastes well. This reminded me of the horrendous experience I faced at BBQ Tonite in Houston (pre-blog times) where the food was reheated nonstop and I nearly spat my food out because of the horrible taste. This was definitely a lot worse than Tandoori Nite, where the rice was the only good part. While I didn't like the food, the rest were enjoying. Maybe I have different taste buds than they do, or maybe I am unlucky with Indian cuisine outside of my house most of the time because I am spoiled by my mother's amazing cooking. But anyways, two thumbs down and not a good way to end the vacation.

Out of all the restaurants I have been to in the US, this was definitely the worst. The service wasn't good, and the food was just downright horrible. I still wonder how it has been around for a while. I will, however, still come back and try the a-la-carte because there are chances that the a-la-carte would turn out much better than the buffet, and I will post an updated review of the restaurant the next time I visit Cleveland and that restaurant. But for now, if you want to eat a good halal meal in Cleveland, spend your money somewhere else. 

Grading: (Waiting time does not apply) 
Service: 5/10 (Emotionless, no smiles except the Dosa Station lady)
Food: 2/10 (Food was disgusting)
Waiting Time: N/A
Overall: 7/20 = 35% (F) (First F of this blog)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$

Restaurant Information:
Inchin Bamboo Garden
5106 Great Northern Mall, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070
Phone: (440) 734-0500
Facebook: Inchin Bamboo Garden Cleveland Page
Timings: Lunch --> Mon-Fri: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM; Sat-Sun: 12 PM - 3 PM
Dinner--> Mon-Thu and Sun: 5 PM - 10 PM; Fri-Sat: 5 PM - 10:30 PM
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below!

Zain Mohammed

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