Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CLOSED: Kebab Factory- A Hole in the Wall in the Middle of Steel City

Restaurant: Kebab Factory
121 Oakland Ave. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
Date of Visit: 5/31/13

UPDATE: 5/11/15: This place has now closed.

Salam/Hello everyone and welcome to my first review outside the city of Houston! Today we will be reviewing Kebab Factory, a hole in the wall restaurant located in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was visiting Pittsburgh with my uncle. We had driven from Cleveland, Ohio to visit, and we had gotten hungry after visiting the Carnegie Science Center and praying at a 81 year old mosque! So we looked up, and this restaurant was the closes to our location. After the prayers were over, we went to the restaurant.

Let the Experience Begin!
The restaurant was located a few blocks away from both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. I first thought it would be like a legit restaurant, but it was a hole in the wall! It reminded me of my trip to Turkey, where there were many of these types selling Doner Kebab. When I went inside, it was a very simple interior, with a fridge next to a couple of tables. A young lady was at the counter and we proceeded to the menu and started ordering.

Let's Eat!
My uncle ordered the shish kabab with a bottle of Coke. while I went for the mixed grill with a bottle of water. The pricing was appropriate, $ 7.95 for the shish kabab and $13.95 for the mixed grill. The mixed grill composed of shish, adana, kofte, and gyro. One thing that caught my eye, however, was the notion of a vegetarian entree in the menu. Now don't get me wrong. I like to also eat vegetables along with the meat, and some of my favorite foods are lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and broccoli. But in a Turkish restaurant, having grilled vegetables as an entree is absolutely unacceptable. Instead of that, they could make a falafel entree dish, with rice and tahini. Or they can also make a falafel shawarma. Don't they know that falafel can be used as an entree as well? Anyways, back to the reality. The waiting time was the longest yet. My uncle got his entree in 10 minutes, while I got mine in 19 minutes and 25 seconds. By 35 seconds, they don't lose points, but I will give them a thumb up for managing to make a whole load of meat in less than 20 minutes!

Menu: Again no menu pics :/ but here is the link --> Kebab Factory Pittsburgh Menu

The covered dish

Uncovered (thank you dearest uncle for cooperating for this review)

My dish

The Verdict:
My uncle really liked his dish. He told me that it was a great idea to come here and eat, despite it being a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Regarding my dish, all the different kebabs were acceptable except for the Adana kebab. It was bland. When I took a bite into it, there was no taste whatsoever. To improve, it could be more spicy. But despite that, an overall acceptable meal.
Another downside is the cutlery. While the food is served on a nice china plate, the cutlery was plastic. The only time plastic cutlery should be used is for catering because of the large number of people that would be present at an event. But at a restaurant? NO. This is because customers would usually find it difficult to cut the meat. Heck, there have been times when the cutlery broke as people tried cutting their meat while eating. A good meal is one that tastes well and has no problems.

This place will definitely do well because of its proximity to two well known colleges. I am concerned, however, about whether the restaurant can nail their food. The question that remains is: Will this restaurant be deserted like Tandoori Nite, where no one goes because it is known that their food is garbage, or will it be popular like the Halal Carts in UT Austin. From a visitor's point of view who has known kebab since childhood, this food is acceptable. It lies right in the middle between the contaminated kebabs at Aladdin (worst) to the ones I ate during my days in Saudi Arabia (the best). It was a simple affair. We came, we ate, we left. Would I recommend this restaurant? Only if you are in downtown Pittsburgh and have no time to go other places.

Grading: (From my perspective)
Service: 7.5/10 (Vegetarian entree + plastic cutlery = not good)
Food: 7/10 (Acceptable)
Waiting time: 10/10
Overall: 24.5/30 = 81.6% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$

Restaurant Information:
Kebab Factory
121 Oakland Ave. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania15213
Phone: (412) 904-4487
Facebook: None
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11 AM - 11 PM
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below!
Zain Mohammed

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