Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dona Mary- A Halal Authentic Mexican Place In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

Restaurant: Dona Mary
Address: 2200 Los Rios Boulevard, Plano, Texas 75074
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of VisitL 12/26/14



Photo Credit: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/04/14/dd/07/dona-mary-not-the-greatest.jpg


Background:
Salam/hey guys! I am right now in Dallas writing this up. What does that mean? It means for the first time, I will be reviewing at more than three restaurants per trip. Ever since I started this blog, I have been going to a maximum of three restaurants in each specific city (only exception = trip to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit in 2013). Even on my last trip to Dallas in December 2013, I only went to 3 restaurants. So this 4th restaurant I am going is Dona Mary (pronounced "Donya Mary"). I found out about this on zabihah.com while I was actually looking for a place to try out. I figured that I would try this place because I had been longing to eat some Mexican food ever since the whole M&M grill fiasco. M&M did have some great Mexican food. I was a big fan of their chimichanga and their enchiladas. Dona Mary is regarded to have excellent Mexican food in all of Plano. Initially I was going to Noodle Wave in McKinney, but my uncle said no to Thai food since he doesn't like it at all (Believe it or not I am the only person in my entire family who actually enjoys Thai food). We also had a time constraint because we had to go for Friday prayers and a Nikah (declaration of marriage). So after doing some quick shopping in Costco off US 75, we went to the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Dona Mary is located at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Los Rios Boulevard in East Plano. From the outside, it looks like a hole-in-the-wall place. When we went, the strip mall looked deserted. But inside, it was lively. There was a TV playing along with Mexican music. We confirmed the halal status. They told us that the fajita style beef and chicken was halal, and that they cooked the food separately. After this was told, we sat down and looked through the menu.



Let's Eat!
We first confirmed once again that the only halal things are the beef and chicken cut in fajita style. I then decided to order the Huarache Mexicano, while my uncle ordered the chicken skillet. A huarache is basically a masa oval shaped tortilla topped with many ingredients. In this one, the huarache is topped with steak, bell peppers, grilled onions, ranchero salsa, and cheese). For the chicken skillet, it came with refried beans, pico de gallo, spanish rice, avocado, and tortillas. He ordered the corn tortillas. To drink, I got one of my favorite sodas: the Mexican Coke (Only Coke product I drink), while my uncle just got water after passing up the same drink as me (he has an addiction to it, since it is so good). We paid roughly $25 (tax included). the waiting time was 12 minutes and 13 seconds. To wait for the food, we got some free chips and salsa



Menu (click to view): Menu Page 1Menu Page 2
Unlike the other Mexican places I have been to, you have the option of getting other Mexican items along with the popular burritos, tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas. Now here are some terms and its definitions. Gorditas = cakes made with masa (dough) stuffed with mainly meats, cheese, and vegetables) Sopes = circle of masa of ground maze topped with refried beans, meats and vegetables. They even have breakfast items! Finally, THEY HAVE TAMALES!! The best part about this is that they have a separate halal cooking area for their entire menu, even though their barbacoa is not halal and they sell pork. I would suggest you ask whether the halal meat can be used on any of the breakfast items, since the other parts of the menus allow you to choose the halal beef/chicken. If they say yes, then ONLY order the beef and/or chicken after requesting halal. If not, just order vegetarian. Now, if you do order anything vegetarian, YOU MUST STILL REQUEST HALAL TO AVOID CROSS-CONTAMINATION. Mexico, like most of Latin America, has an insane infatuation for anything related to pork, so most places would likely cook everything in lard. If you are still unsure of the halal status, the people will be more than happy to help you out. 



Chips and Salsa


The Chicken Skillet


Spanish rice, refried beans, pico de gallo, and avocado


Huarache Mexicano. The tortillas are in the very cute sombrero




The Verdict:
One word: fantastic. Even my uncle, who barely eats anything that's not Indian/Pakistani, even enjoyed the place. The masa was stuffed with refried beans. The management said that the refried beans were made separately and without any pork or lard. The huarache was also very fantastic. Everything on the plate tasted very well. The cheese had a lot of goo in it, and the meat was cooked perfectly. After eating this, I was stuffed. The food was washed down with a bottle of Mexican Coke. Overall, two thumbs up.
The service was phenomenal. The restaurant people were very friendly, and they took their time to help us through the entire menu, telling us what the Mexican dishes meant and what items were halal or not.



Conclusion:
If I had lived in Dallas, then I would most definitely be a regular here! I would also recommend this place for someone who is looking for something that is halal, but not Indian/Pakistani. I will definitely make another visit here the next time I visit Dallas, if time permits.



Grading:
Service: 10/10
Food: 9/10
Waiting Time: 10/10
Total: 29/30 = 96.7% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Dona Mary
2200 Los Rios Boulevard, Plano, Texas 75074
Phone: (972) 422-6402
Website: None
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonaMary.Antojitos
Timings: Mon-Thu: 8 AM - 9 PM; Fri-Sat: 8 AM - 10 PM; Sun: 8 AM - 7 PM
Caters: Yes

Feel free to leave a comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or email me.

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Saturday, December 20, 2014

King's Chicken- A Desi Restaurant with a Nice Ambiance

Restaurant: King's Chicken
Address: 2209 Highway 6 South, Houston, Texas 77077
Buffet or a-la-carte: Buffet
Date of visit: 12/18/14


Photo Credit: http://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/Ze_0RKqGvI5e7UuIWIwWEg/ls.jpg


Background:
Salam/hey guys! After a long time, I am reviewing another restaurant in the same week! Last Tuesday, I reviewed Thai Choice. Today, I am reviewing King's Chicken. I first heard of King's Chicken when I was in high school. The original owners had sold their biryani and fried chicken after the Friday Prayers at the mosque my dad and I used to go to. Then all of a sudden, they disappeared. Their food was really good though. Many years later, I found out that there were new owners, and that they have completely changed the restaurant. The biggest change was that they no longer sold fried chicken. Makes me wonder why they still kept the name. The time came for me to try when I got a call from my father saying that we should meet up for lunch here while I was at UH collecting my belongings from my locker at the campus recreation and wellness center (a.k.a. the gym). He told me that he was on limited time, and that he is a frequent customer at the restaurant. Thankfully, it took me less than 3 minutes to get my stuff. After taking detours, since 45 was shut down at Allen Parkway due to a major accident, I arrived at the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
King's Chicken is located right across Highway 6 from Great Khan Mongolian Grill. Like from the entrance, you can see the big letters indicating that Great Khan is located there. From the outside, the restaurant looked very small, and very average looking. However, once you get inside, you feel as if you are at some fine dining place. The only other Indian/Pakistani places that had such great ambiance were Mayuri on Westheimer, and Marhaba Restaurant back in Al Khobar. Everything was shining, and soothing restaurant music was playing. The tables were laid, similar to how many fine dining places do so. After meeting with my dad and my friend, who is my dad's colleague, it was time to eat.



Let's Eat!
We went for the lunch buffet. The buffet spread was separated into vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections. I opted for the non-vegetarian selections. The selections available were: chicken biryani, chicken karahi, tandoori chicken, butter chicken, seekh kabab, and lamb rogan josh. We all got naan and water. When I went up to get the food, the food was piping hot, and I could hear the chefs cooking the buffet food. My dad also got takeout biryani for my family, since my mom was not feeling well.



Menu (click to view): I am surprised that a restaurant of this caliber doesn't have a website. Anyways, this restaurants features dishes that are popular in both India and Pakistan. The pricing is very reasonable

Appetizers

Rice Dishes

Tandoori

Chicken Curries (I)

Chicken curries (II), goat and lamb curries

Seafood and Vegetables (I); (sorry if it is crooked. It just wouldn't stay still!)

Vegetables, naan, and desserts

Desserts and Beverages

The Buffet spread

The Verdict: 
This buffet, like most I have been to in Houston, had hits and misses. The hits were the seekh kabab and the butter chicken. The seekh kabab was cooked perfectly and was full of flavor. The butter chicken was very creamy. The downs were the chicken karahi, and the Tandoori chicken. The tandoori chicken could have been much better, and the karahi had very little taste. The rest of the items tasted decently. My father liked the food, while his colleague agreed that the Tandoori chicken could have been much better. My mom and sister liked the biryani, but said that it was not as good as Khan BBQ's (Idk why). The naan kept coming in, and each time the naan was very fluffy and tasty. One thing that I will point out is that unlike many other Indian/Pakistani places, the karahi was not oily at all! This makes it easier to eat all the food and minimize the waste. The food was washed down with refilled glasses of water.
The service was ok. Nothing to praise or criticize. We just ate, paid, and left.



Conclusion: 
The new management of King's Chicken is doing a decent job. I have two tips for them: change the name of the restaurant. King's Chicken was originally named because it would sell fried chicken along with Indian/Pakistani food. Also, the phrase "King's Chicken" is analogous to "Church's Chicken" or "Hartz's Chicken). Had I been asked to suggest the name, I would name it "Baadshah" (King in Urdu). But in the end, the decision whether to change the restaurant name or not is entirely up to the management, and I will respect their decision. Their biryani gets a pass, along with the rogan josh. But in all honesty, if I were to choose between here and Maharajah, then I would pick Maharajah because of the latter's consistency in the taste of their food. However, if at all I come back here with my dad, then I would order something off the menu.



Grading: 
Service: 8/10
Food: 7.5/10
Waiting Time: N/A
Total: 15.5/20 = 77.5% (C)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
King's Chicken
2209 Highway 6 South, Houston, Texas 77077
Phone: (281) 498-2900
Website: None
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11 AM - 10:30 PM
Caters: Yes


Feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or email me!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Thursday, December 18, 2014

CLOSED: Thai Choice- Another Halal Thai Option in Town

Restaurant: Thai Choice
Address: 11161 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas 77042
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of Visit: 12/16/14

Photo Credit:http://places2.assets.gotime.com/cc639b9cbe982fc9c7e2de2decd5538c64e71933_l.jpg


UPDATE 8/31/16: This place has closed down

Background:
Salam/hey guys! After nearly a whole month of preparing for finals I am back! Now let me tell you something. There was something that I had never seen before. The last restaurant I visited was El Greco near UH. The food was good, but there was a major problem. Shortly after going there, I decided to check up on them and ask whether they cook it separately or not by surprise. Why is it a surprise? Because cooking halal meat separately is a fundamental of properly preparing halal meat. The prime examples of this are Stanton's and Elevation Burger. They make sure that the haram meat is separate from the halal meat. It turned out that they DON'T cook it separately. I tried to contact them via Facebook, but they just ignored me. Thus, I have decided to not put their review. Another thing that has happened is that my parents are desperately trying to limit me from eating out. They feel that eating out is not good for me, and that I should only stick to home food. Nonetheless, a friend had said that we would hang out, but at the last minute, he had something come up, so he couldn't make it. So it was just me. After battling through rush hour traffic, and nearly ending up at a wrong place. I arrived at the restaurant



Let The Experience Begin!
Thai Choice is located at the intersection of Westheimer and Wilcrest. The place looked deserted at night; even the inside was empty except for one table. I confirmed that the food was halal, and they even had the halal certificate hanging. After getting some water, I looked through the menu.



Let's Eat!
I ordered something that I have longed to try: Roast duck. I confirmed with the waiter about the halal status of the duck. He said that the duck is also halal. This concludes the end of my quest to eat duck.
Many of the halal duck places are located in Sugar Land, which is far from both my house and UH. I was really excited as I wanted to try it ever since I started this food blog.  There were four spice levels available: mild, spicy, very spicy, and Thai spicy. I took Thai spicy. Normally when I go to non Indian/Pakistani places, I like to eat the things that are popular in a specific country. For example, if I go to a Greek restaurant, I would get a souvlaki as they are a really popular in Greece, or if I go to a Turkish restaurant, I would either get Iskender or a mixed grill, since kebaps and doner meats are popular in Turkey. In Thai cuisine, many of the meats can be rotated. For example, Pad Thai and many other curries can be enjoyed with either chicken, beef, or even tofu. I paid $20.51 (Tax included). The waiting time was 9 minutes and 33 seconds



Menu: http://thaichoicehouston.com/Menu_2.php
This restaurant's menu is very similar to Anothai's on FM 1960. You have your usual curries, noodle and rice dishes, soups, and appetizers. One thing that makes Thai Choice stand out is that you don't have popular Chinese dishes such as kung pao chicken and teriyaki. Another way this stands out over Anothai is that their duck is actually halal. Last time I went, I was told that the duck is not halal. Thankfully however they cook it separately. With the exception of the duck and seafood dishes, the pricing is very good. They even have a lunch menu, where your entree comes with Jasmine rice, egg roll, and soup



The Halal Certificate. Waiter assured me the duck is also from here

Fork and Jasmine rice on the roasted duck and vegetables. Notice the brown texture of the duck.




The Roasted Duck itself


The Verdict:
So how would I describe the long wait to eat duck? Well, it was absolutely worth it! The duck was very crisp, but it had a lot of taste! The duck tasted a lot like chicken, but with crisp!  The vegetables were tasty, but the sauce could do better in terms of taste. The Jasmine rice was nice and fresh. I was actually able to withstand the heat from the spices. Overall, one thumb up.
The service was good. The waiter was very nice. I saw him communicate with other customers, and he was smiling all the time. And unlike El Greco, he did not back away when I confirmed the halal status of this restaurant.



Conclusion:
Thai Choice is a decent place to dine if you want some halal Thai in town. Their food is nearly identical to Anothai's. I would definitely be back and try other things like Pad Thai and their red curry.



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 8.5/10
Waiting Time: 10/10
Overall: 26.5/30 = 88.3% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Thai Choice
11161 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas 77042
Phone: (713) 780-8323
Website: http://thaichoicehouston.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thai-Choice-Restaurant/691439794202883
Timings: Mon-Fri: 11 AM - 3 PM and 5 PM - 10 PM; Sat-Sun: 12 PM - 10 PM
Caters: Yes


Feel free to leave a comment below, send me an email, or message me on Facebook.

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Friday, November 14, 2014

NOT HALAL: Hungry Farmer BBQ- Taste of Texas Halal Style

Restaurant: Hungry Farmer BBQ
Address: 8222 Airline Drive, Houston, Texas 77037
Buffet or a-la-carte: Neither
Date of visit: 11/14/14

Photo Credit: https://plus.google.com/109918338473848315402/about

UPDATE 1/3/2015: Got a message from them on Facebook saying that they are no longer serving halal meat due to "unforeseen circumstances"

ORIGINAL POST:

Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be reviewing something that I wanted to occur ever since I started this blog: HALAL BBQ! Not just any BBQ, legit Texas BBQ. Yes, the one like they do at world-renowned Franklin's BBQ in Austin, with the ribs and brisket drenched in tangy BBQ sauce and also potato salad and coleslaw. Their brisket is actually zabiha halal, but you have to wait in a long line in order to get the food. Plus I myself am 160 miles away from it. When I found out that this place serves halal meat, I immediately made it a point to try this place out. It was difficult to get money for this, because I no longer have a credit card. The time came to try when I had a few hours to kill before I had my class right after Jummah prayer. Ever since I got the all clear from my sister (we share the car). I set off for the restaurant. 



Let The Experience Begin!
Now let me warn you, this place in not in a good area of town, so I strongly advise you to go before sunset. By not good area, I mean near Acres' Homes. The drive there is also really bad. The reason? 45. No introduction needed to how horrible driving on that highway is, from construction to accidents to rush hour traffic. Anything related to 45 between the Tollway and 610 is horrible. I took 45 from 610 after passing downtown on 59. Then you exit Airline Drive and drive for 3 miles until you reach the restaurant. The restaurant is very similar to the ones that you see while driving from Houston to either Dallas or San Antonio. I was expecting that you order and they would cook it for you. WRONG! It is cafeteria style like Fadi's. When I asked the people about halal, they had no idea what it was. I was shocked. After being excited and anticipating finally trying the food that is very popular in Texas, they had no idea what I was talking about. I tried calling them, they were really rude. But then I messaged them on Facebook. They said that I should see Mike. I went back inside and asked for him. He turned out to be the most pleasant person inside the whole restaurant. He told me that the beef ribs, the brisket, the chicken, and the beef sausage were halal.



Let's Eat!
I ended up getting the ribs plate. I already had brisket at Artis La Bonne (which sadly closed down) so I decided to get another another cut of meat a try. I took the ribs,since I had brisket before at Artis La Bonne (which closed down sadly). For the sides, I got potato salad, coleslaw, and beans that were offered by Mike. To drink, I just got water. The ribs cost $9.95 + tax. Since this is a cafeteria style place, the food is served instantly to you.



Menu: http://imgur.com/a/CngX3
This place also serves pork and alcohol, but they are cooked separately. The spoons in the serving area are used separate. For cafeteria style food, the halal meat looked appealing, but some of the sides didn't. The prices are really good. You get a lot of food for the buck.



The Ribs with BBQ sauce, beans, potato salad, and coleslaw



The Verdict:
The long wait was totally worth it. Despite the mess up earlier, the food was really delicious. The BBQ sauce had a lot of flavor. The ribs were very tender, and it had a really good taste. The potato salad was very delicious and well-balanced. The coleslaw could be less watery. I had honestly never seen ribs this big (I've eaten ribs only once) before. In fact, it was really filling, and at the end, I was completely stuffed. The food was washed down with water. Overall, two thumbs up.



Conclusion:
One major thing that should happen is that Mike should tell the other employees about the select meats being halal. I will definitely be back to try the other meats. 



Grading:
Service: 7/10
Food: 9/10
Waiting Time: N/A
Total: 16/20 = 80% (B)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Hungry Farmer BBQ
8222 Airline Drive, Houston, Texas 77037
Phone: (281) 931-0220
Website: none
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hungryfarmerbbq
Timings: Mon-Thu & Sun: 10:30 AM - 8:30 PM; Fri-Sat: 10:30 AM - 9:30 PM
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bismillah Cafe: Your typical Desi-American restaurant

Restaurant: Bismillah Cafe
5696 Hillcroft Avenue, Houston, Texas 77036
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of visit: 11/1/14



Photo Credit: http://www.localsugar.com/limage/556DSCN1562.JPG


Background:
Salam/hey guys! After a long time of studying and stressing out, I am back for now! Today I will be reviewing Bismillah Cafe. This was on my bucket list since the start of 2014. Delays have included me going there too early and my friend cancelling a trip at the very last minute (which really upset me). I first heard of this place on Instagram when someone took a picture of their ten chicken wings. At long last, I got the chance to drive there before my Saturday class. I went in once with my cousin, but I didn't eat because I was saving my stomach for M&M Grill (when I used to eat there). After going through traffic, I arrived at the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Bismillah is located in the same strip mall as Busy Boy and Darband Shish Kabob. Now here is a catch. There are two Bismillahs in the same strip mall separated by Hot Breads. One is Bismillah Restaurant, which has traditional Pakistani food, and the other is Bismillah Cafe, which is a cafe serving American and Indian Snacks. I went to the cafe. Inside was a typical cafe, with tables and chairs. There was the cashier just sitting down. While skimming through the menu, he goes in a very grumpy attitude saying "Is there anything in particular that you want?" This is not good. In every other restaurant I have been to, the waiter/waitresses allowed me to take my own time in deciding in what I wanted. It seemed like he was a really pushy person. He wanted me to hurry up so that he could go back to his phone. This showed that he wasn't interested in doing his job. It really doesn't hurt to be professional and polite to your customers. Eventually after taking some more time, I was ready to order.



Let's Eat!
I eventually decided to order the Ten Chicken Wings, and the animal style fries. Yup, ANIMAL STYLE FRIES. It seemed like I was getting a taste of In-N-Out (They don't have any stores in Houston, which is a good thing because we are a proud burger city). For those who don't know, animal fries are basically fries topped with thousand islands sauce, grilled onions, and cheese. The Ten Chicken Wings are a specialty of this restaurant. It is basically chicken marinated and grilled in a special ten spices sauce. To drink, I got a bottle of water. Another thing that struck me was the price. The price of the animal fries is $4.99 without tax. According to the menu, the price of the ten chicken wings was $6.99. When I read the receipt, they had charged $7.99 for the chicken wings. Can they not update it on the menu?? I don't wanna get ripped off you know (Yes I will call out any restaurant that rips me off by lying about the costs of the menu items). If a customer is on a budget and only has about $8 to spend, and he/she finds the ten chicken wings interesting and wants to order it, how would that person feel if it is $7.99 instead? The waiting time was a good 9 minutes and 6 seconds.



Menu: http://www.bismillahrestaurant.com/menu

I honestly like the fact that there are many options, but I don't like the fact that the prices on here. It seems like you walking blind when going to the restaurant and then hitting a concrete wall hard when seeing the prices listed on the menu.



Animal Fries

 
Ten Chicken Wings



The Verdict:
Well, despite the lapse in the service, the food was absolutely wonderful! And let me warn you that the Ten Chicken Wings is very spicy for those not familiar with spicy food. The animal fries were out of this world and extremely filling! It was so filling that I wasn't even able to finish it all even though I finished the Ten Chicken Wings. The food was washed down with a bottle of water. Overall, two thumbs up.




Conclusion: 
It's a shame that this restaurant has excellent food yet can't have good customer service. At least he didn't make me upset so much that I won't be returning to the restaurant. I will make more trips, but I just hope that the cashier fixes his attitude.



Grading:
Service: 6/10
Food: 9/10
Waiting Time: 10/10
Overall: 25/30 = 83.3% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Bismillah Cafe
5696 Hillcroft Avenue, Houston, Texas 77036
Phone: (713) 587-9300
Website: http://www.bismillahrestaurant.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bismillahcafe
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bismillahcafe
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11:30 AM - 8:30 PM
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shahnai Restaurant: Not A Great Place to Dine

Restaurant: Shahnai Restaurant & Catering
5920 Hillcroft Avenue, Houston, Texas 77036
Buffet or a-la-carte: Buffet
Date of visit: 10/3/14

Photo Credit: http://www.shahnai.com/images/11.jpg

Background:
Salam/hey guys! Once again, I am late. This was because I had two midterms the previous week and I broke my toe while playing soccer. Now I am on a brace for 2 weeks. For these two weeks, I can't drive. This means that I can only go places with the family, and they rarely go anywhere. The last restaurant before these events unfolded that I visited is called Shahnai. Shahnai is another vintage Houston restaurant. It opened in 2001 and claims to be one of the "jewels of Indian Pakistani cuisine in Houston" They are more known for their banquet hall and their catering. I would always see flyers for events that were to take place in the banquet hall. I also heard mixed reactions about the food that is served in Shahnai. The time came to try as my family were invited to a post Nikah (post declaration of marriage) dinner. As almost always, I go to Indian/Pakistani restaurants ONLY with family or for takeout. After the 30 min drive from Cypress, we arrived at the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Shahnai is located in the same strip mall as Bijan and Mercy Islamic Center. There are two parts of this restaurant: the banquet hall, and the restaurant itself. The banquet hall is across the parking lot. The outside reminded me of the restaurants in Saudi, bright neon lights everywhere. Inside was your typical restaurant scene with tables, and the cashier. We had a private room next to the restaurant, which I assumed to be the former banquet hall. After meeting up with the relatives, the bride, and the groom, we were ready to eat.



Let's Eat!
Like almost every Indian/Pakistani restaurant, there was a buffet. Usually we would order, but this time we did go to the buffet. The buffet has the usual tikka, karahi, and rice dishes. As I was going through the buffet spread, I was told to not take the biryani. Instead, they ordered it made. This clearly tells that the biryani in the buffet was not fresh at all. I went and tried the other dishes from the buffet spread. This included Chicken 65, chicken karahi, chicken tikka, kabab, and vegetables. To drink, I had water.



Menu (click to view): BuffetDining MenuCatering Menu
I have never seen a catering menu this vast. Not even separate catering companies that I have reviewed was this big. The buffet is pretty big and the cost is a bit high. The dining menu prices are similar to other Pakistani restaurants that I've been to.



The plate consisting of the buffet items


The Verdict:
The rest of the buffet food was not fresh at all. What was ironic was that the Chicken 65 turned out to be more like Chicken kheema (minced meat). The kababs were completely tasteless, and the karahi was just not good. The only thing close to decent was the chicken tikka. The food was washed down by a few glasses of water. Overall, two thumbs down.
Since this was a party, there was nothing to talk about the service, so the service will not be graded.



Conclusion:
Well, based on what I have heard from people, this is obviously leaned towards the bad things that people have said. There are definitely better Indian/Pakistani restaurants around town. If I were in Hillcroft, I would just drive a few more miles down the road to another restaurant.



Grading:
Service: N/A
Food: 2.5/10
Waiting Time: N/A
Total: 2.5/10 = 25% (F) (New record low)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information: 
Shahnai Restaurant & Catering
5920 Hillcroft Avenue, Houston, Texas 77036
Phone: (713) 953-1388
Timings: Mon-Thu & Sun: 11 AM - Midnight; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 1 AM
Caters: Yes

Dining Hall available

Feel free to comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or email me!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Golden Grill: Yet another food truck!

Food Truck: Golden Grill
Address: Various locations
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte:
Date of visit: 10/2/14

Photo Credit: http://htownfoodtruckreviews.blogspot.com/


Background:

Salam/hey guys! I am back after a delay due to exams. Today I will be reviewing another food truck that has started to serve halal chicken: Golden Grill. Golden Grill claims to serve the finest grilled cheese sandwiches in Houston. I had actually tried this for the first time the day before. I had their classic cheese sandwich, which is basically grilled cheese on toasted bread. I had then tweeted them saying that their classic was great, and said the one day they should serve halal chicken, since halal is almost always a hit on the UH campus. Next thing you know, they tweeted me back by saying that they do serve halal chicken! To confirm, I asked where they get the meat from and they said Restaurant Depot. Keep in mind that Restaurant Depot sells certified halal meat in bulk amounts. Also keep in mind that if a person claims that the restaurant is halal, believe in that person. If it turns out to be a lie, then the sin is on the seller, not the consumer. It's astounding how people still don't do this and just yell "Haram" right? Anyways, after studying a bit for my exams, I came here for lunch with a friend.



Let The Experience Begin!
Like every other food truck, you have to look at their twitter or Facebook page to see where they are for the day. When Golden Grill comes to UH (University of Houston), they are either near the Fleming building or they are near the Engineering building. I was one of the first people to be there. After waiting in the line for a while, I was ready to order.



Let's Eat!
I ordered the Buff Chick, which was a grilled sandwich consisting of bread, cheddar cheese, buffalo sauce, and chicken. I paid $7 (no sales tax). After ordering, you give your name. When the food is ready, they will call your name. The waiting time was 6 minutes and 10 seconds.



They have pork, but you can request them to cook separately. I was lucky this time because I did the first meat order that day. The Buff Chick is the only halal thing there. They get their chicken from Restaurant Depot, which sell halal meat in bulk amounts.



The Buff Chick




The Verdict:
The food tasted great! Buffalo sauce and cheddar cheese definitely compliment each other. The BBQ sauce was as good as the one I had in Crespo Pizza a few visits ago. The chicken was nice and tender. The food was washed down with a bottle of water. Overall, two thumbs up.
The service was good. The cashier confirmed that the food was halal, and before I came here, I actually contacted them via twitter. That's called customer service. And they were actually polite when I confirmed its halal status, compared to another restaurant that I have been to.



Conclusion:
Even though Third Coast is gone, Golden Grill is a wonderful addition to the halal food scene at UH. They usually come every two weeks. Thankfully while they are gone, I can grab a bite at Coreanos, but when they come, I'll definitely be going back.



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 9/10
Waiting Time: 10/10
Total: 27/30 = 90% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Golden Grill
Various Locations
Facebook: facebook.com/TheGoldenGrill
Twitter: https://twitter.com/goldengrillhtx
Instagram: @goldengrillhtx
Timings: Varies
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or email me!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Monday, October 6, 2014

CLOSED: Great Khan Mongolian Grill- A Prayer Answered

Restaurant: Great Khan Mongolian Grill
Address: 2150 Highway 6 South, Houston, Texas 77070
Buffet or a-la-carte: Buffet
Date of visit: 9/27/14



Photo Credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZP4iBSaXq-w/UPZI7pxfXXI/AAAAAAAAHm4/lZMurDe_ri4/s1600/Mongolian-Grill-Great-Khat-SH-6-Houston.PNG

UPDATE 8/13/16: This place has closed down. Time to wait for the next place that will have a fully halal Mongolian Grill. Right now, your choices are Kublai Khan in Sugar Land and Humble.


============================== ORIGINAL POST ============================

Background:
Salam/hey guys! After a hectic September, I am back! Every weekend I've been studying for a very important exam that will be taking place on the 9th of October. Since it is engineering, I have to dedicate a lot of time to preparing for it. I managed to go here only because I left my house early to go to my AutoCAD class. I first found out about this when I saw a business card inside Masjid Hamza. I had then decided that I should give this place a try. After saying goodbye to my parents, I left for the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Great Khan Mongolian Grill is located southbound on highway 6. The sign is clearly visible as you drive. It is near the intersection at Westheimer road. The inside was a lot like Kublai Khan; you have the bar, the tables and booths, and the food area including the woks. One major difference: THERE WAS NO ALCOHOL AT ALL!! This was very welcoming to me! Like Kublai Khan I was greeted at the door, and asked whether I knew what to do here, asked me what to drink, and directed to a booth. After sitting down and collecting my bowl, it was time for the fun part.



Let's Eat!
Well, there is a menu, but you are missing out a lot if you order from it. The chef is in fact YOU! You pick any meat, any vegetables, any powder, and any sauce. You can even name the combo by yourself. Now this is what made me really happy: THERE WAS NO PORK! There was just beef, chicken, and sausage. Just to confirm, I asked whether everything is halal, and he said yes. The sausage turned out to be beef. There are still signs that say "Halal Chicken" or "Halal Lamb", but he has to change it and put some new things on there. He told me that he himself bought the restaurant from the previous owner. In Kublai Khan, there was the designated area for halal meat and you would have to request the chefs to cook it separately.So I decided to get every single meat, fried eggs, bok choy potatoes, peas and carrots, lettuce, beans, green onions, broccoli, tomatoes, and teriyaki sauce. For the starch, I got Mongolian noodles, which were thin rice noodles stir fried with egg and cabbage, since I wanted to try something other than fried rice or udon noodles. I paid $9.73 (tax included) for the bowl. The waiting time was a quick 7 minutes and 20 seconds.



Menu:  http://www1.beyondmenu.com/20389/houston/great-khan-houston-77077.aspx?r=20389
Needless to say that the ordering menu is really impressive. There is a place where it mentions "Ham shrimp", but there is no pork according to the owner. In the create-your-own-bowl, you have options of chicken, beef, sausage for meat, shrimp, scallops, crabs, calamari, and squid for seafood, vegetables ranging from bok choy to potatoes, many powders from masala to chili pepper, and sauces from BBQ to teriyaki to sweet and sour. There are hundreds of combos you can make.



The finished product




The Verdict:
The food was spot on. All the meats has plenty of taste, and the vegetables too. The Mongolian noodles were cooked perfectly. It feels great to finally have everything halal in a Mongolian Grill. The food was washed down with a glass of water. Overall, two thumbs up
The service was good too. The owner assured me that all the meat is halal. We talked about how I found out about this restaurant and that I should spread the word about this.



Conclusion: 
Great Khan has been added to the constant diversification of halal food in Houston, something that is only shared with the New York City metro area (includes New Jersey, Long Island, and Westchester County).  I would definitely be back if I ever feel like eating my heart out again. I would recommend



Grading:
Service: 10/10
Food: 9/10
Waiting time: 10/10
Overall: 29/30 = 96.7% (A)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information
Great Khan Mongolian Grill
2150 Highway 6 South, Houston, Texas 77070
Phone: (281) 531-1122
Timings: Mon-Thu & Sun: 11 AM - 10 PM: Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 11 PM
Caters: No


Feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CLOSED: 100th POST: Artis La Bonne Cuisine- finally some halal BBQ

Restaurant: Artis La Bonne Cuisine
9569 FM 1960, Houston, Texas 77070
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 9/6/14


Update 10/28/14: This place is no longer in service. Sources tell me that they are trying to relocate.

Background:
Salam/hey guys, and welcome to my milestone 100th post! And on this post, I have a treat! Today's review is Artis La Bonne BBQ. So why is it special? Because we have our first fully halal BBQ in Houston! No longer would you have to drive to Sugar Land, or spend $20+ at Bonsai for some nice halal steak or ribs! I would've gone to Killen's BBQ in Pearland, but since they don't cook their halal brisket separately (certified by Creekstone), it was a no go. I remember going to events where they got food from Pappas BBQ where I had to end up eating the potato salad and bread. No longer would I have to endure that. I found out about this from the Houston Muslim Group on Facebook when someone mentioned how good it was. What also caught my attention was when someone tagged another person and said that they would be the first halal foodies to try that place. Before my Saturday class started, I went to the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Artis La Bonne BBQ is located on FM 1960 going east before the intersection of Perry Road.Inside was very small. There was a really nice guy in the counter. He told me that they had just opened up their business, and that they were previously a catering business that used to operate out of Sugar Land. After seeing the menu and him giving me time, I decided to give the order.



Let's Eat!
I originally was going for the ribs, but the word "Brisket" caught my eye. So I quickly changed my mind and got the brisket. My sides were salad (yes I am eating healthy) with some ranch, and potato salad. The price was really good: $ 9.73 (tax included). Basically this is a two man show. The Chef, Yusuff, cooks everything by himself. Thankfully I got the food at exactly 20 minutes.



Menu: The menu definitely resembles those of famous BBQ places. You have ribs and brisket. There are even family packs and party trays.



The Current Menu. There are also family packs and party trays

Salad and Brisket (Yes I eat healthy)

The Verdict:
The long wait for some good halal BBQ was absolutely worth it! This brisket was flat-out AMAZING! The salad was very fresh, and the ranch perfectly accompanied it. The potato salad was also delicious! The food was washed down with a glass of water. Two thumbs up
The service was phenomenal. The owner turned out to be the chef himself. He has had experience for many years. He was one of the nicest owners that I have ever met (Desi restaurants take notes). He is actually very approachable and you can actually strike a conversation with him. He works very hard. He manages the place and also cooks the food, so you have to actually give some time before you get your food. 



Conclusion:
So is the first halal BBQ restaurant in Houston worth it? A definite yes. I hope to make multiple trips and bring friends/family along. I hope this business is successful.



Grading: 
Service: 10/10
Food: 10/10
Waiting Time: 10/10
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Artis La Bonne Cuisine
9569 FM 1960, Houston, Texas 77070
Phone: (713) 315-7072
Website: None
Facebook: none
Timings: Mon-Wed: 10:30 AM - 8 PM; Thu: 10:30 AM - 8:30 PM; Fri: 3:30 PM - 8:30 PM; Sat: 10:30 AM - 9:30 PM; Sun: open. Timing will be updated
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gyro King: The Best NY Style Place in Houston?

Food Truck: Gyro King
2424 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, Texas 77054
Date of visit: 8/30/14


Photo Credits: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/gyro-king-houston?select=JYxZuSAVU1Epznpn0fwuwA#w_jmq1iCl73M9--Gdn9yoA

UPDATE 4/26/16:
Gyro King now has a store location on 9203 S Texas 6 in Sugar Land (Next to Kroger on Highway 6 and Bissonnet). It was opened in March. I took the family there this past Sunday. I got the usual mix over rice with Pepsi, dad got the mix as well, mom got the fish over rice, and my sister got the chicken over rice. The food was fantastic. We all enjoyed it. A noticeable difference is that at the Sugar Land location, you get more veggies in your salad.
Btw, Halal Guys is open here, so I had to change the title.


ORIGINAL POST:

Background:
Salam/hey guys! Sorry I haven't had the time to write a review as I have been extremely busy with school. But here is the first review of the new academic school year. This place is called Gyro King. When I first heard of this place opening up, I got really excited, because it was near UH! This means that I can actually drive here, eat, and then go back to campus within a period of time! This is a lot like the Halal Bros in Austin, where UT students often go a few blocks to grab a platter. This is literally the closest we will have to the famous Halal Guys of Manhattan, because this is also a cart, not a truck. I got to try this place after I finished my Saturday class (yes I am a busy student). I wanted to grab this and then head home.



Let The Experience Begin!
Gyro King is located in the Chevron gas station at the intersection of Almeda and Old Spanish Trail. If you are coming from UH, you need to take a left. Right in the vicinity of the food cart is M&M Grill. Haven't gone back there since the whole turkey bacon scandal that has taken place there. If I had gone there, I wouldn't be writing this post. Anyways, I parked the car, and said salam to the person in the cart. Then I looked at the menu and decided what to order.



Let's Eat!
I ordered the chicken over rice platter. I asked for both the white sauce and the red sauce. I paid $8, and they do not have sales tax. The wait time was approximately 7 minutes/



Menu: The menu is very similar to what the original Halal Guys have. The pricing is much higher than Jones though

The menu (click on the menu to zoom)


The Front

 
Chicken over Rice with White and Red sauce




The Verdict:
One bite of the platter and it was absolutely mouthwatering. I am guessing that the red sauce is either BBQ sauce or buffalo sauce. The vegetables were fresh, and the rice was very tasty. The food was washed down with water. Overall, two thumbs up.
The service was great too. He asked me how I found out about the place, and I told him that a friend told me about it. He was very friendly



Conclusion:
So which place do I prefer? I mean, I really love both places, but on the basis of distance from UH, this place. No longer would I need to battle the traffic passing downtown or on 59 to grab a NY style platter. That doesn't mean that I will never go back to Jones though. It will be that I will go there if I am in the vicinity, like I will be going here more often since it is very close to UH. Gyro King. I would recommend trying this place out. I hope their business succeeds since the prices are suitable for everyone in the Rice, UH, and Texas Medical Center area.



Grading: 
Service: 9/10
Food: 9/10
Waiting Time: 10/10
Overall: 28/30 = 93.3% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Gyro King
2424 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, Texas 77054
Phone: (832) 618-4891
Website: none
Facebook: none
Timings: Mon-Sat: 11 AM - Midnight
Caters: Yes
Delivery also available

Feel free to comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Saturday, September 6, 2014

KC Grill N Kabab- A Decent Way to Finish off a Vacation


Restaurant: KC Grill N Kabab
8611 Hauser Court, Lenexa, Kansas 66215
Buffet or a-la-carte: Buffet
Date of visit: 8/22/14



Photo Credit: http://a4.urbancdn.com/w/s/at/xcaF7fVcgYQnZJ-640m.jpg


Background:
Salam/hey guys! At long last, I have the time to write up my final review from my vacation to Kansas City. This time it is KC Grill N Kabab. This is the first review that I have done outside Overland Park. Lenexa is located just a few miles east on 435. This was the last place that I ate at before heading back to Houston. My aunt and uncle wanted me to try out their favorite restaurants; this is one of them. They've been going here and have never been disappointed. After a few hours playing the PS3, I got ready, helped the cousins get ready, and went to the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
KC Grill N Kabab is located at the intersection of West 87th and Hauser Ct. Inside, there were tables, and two TVs. One TV was showing the local news, and the other had a slideshow of famous places in Iran. We met with one of my uncle's colleagues, talked a but about Houston, then progressed to eat.



Let's Eat!
For my final meal in Kansas City, it was a buffet! There were 3 different types of rice, along with condiments, and also popular meals such as koobideh, kabob, and even curry. I do not know the pricing as I did not pay for this.



Menu: http://www.kckabob.com/menu.html

The restaurant offers popular Persian items along with a kids menu. It also gives an idea on how much you would have to pay to eat something there.



Saffron rice with chicken kabob, yogurt sauce, chicken and beef koobideh, and chicken and vegetable curry


The Verdict:
For buffet food, the food was actually not bad! My favorites from this were the koobidehs and the saffron rice. The rest were just acceptable. The food was washed down with a few glasses of water. Overall, one thumb up.
The service was good too. The owner was very friendly and very hard working. He would rotate between seeing the kitchen and also conversing with us and the other customers at the same time.



Conclusion:
KC Grill N Kabab is a pretty good place to try the taste of Iran. From what I had sampled, I would highly recommend the Koobidehs, as they were scrumptious and flavorful. I will definitely come back and try things from their menu the next time I visit Kansas City.



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 8.5/10
Overall: 16.5/20 = 82.5% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
KC Grill N Kabab
8611 Hauser Court, Lenexa, Kansas 66215
Phone: (913) 541-1900
Website: http://www.kckabob.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-Grill-n-Kabob/184644694894265
Timings: Mon: 11 AM - 3 PM; Tue-Thu: 11 AM - 9 PM; Fri and Sat: 11 AM - 10 PM; Sun: 11 AM - 9 PM
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Sunday, August 31, 2014

NOT HALAL: Jack Stack BBQ - First Fine Dining Experience

Restaurant: Jack Stack BBQ
9520 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, Kansas 66212
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of visit: 8.20/14




UPDATE 8/10/15: The halal lamb is sold in the store. Per the latest review, they don't serve halal meat. What a shame. I really enjoyed it. Guess I have to wait and see if there's another halal steakhouse or BBQ place in Kansas City.



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be reviewing the second restaurant that I visited in Kansas City: Jack Stack BBQ. Jack Stack BBQ is considered to be one of the finest BBQ places in Kansas City. They also ship BBQ orders nationwide. Kansas City is considered to be the BBQ capital of America, and this is considered to be one of the main contributors to the Kansas City BBQ food scene. They have four locations in the City: Wyandotte and Ward Parkway in the Country Club Plaza, 22nd Street and Wyandotte downtown, 95th and Metcalf in Overland Park, Kansas, and 135th and Holmes in Martin City. This one reviews the locations in Overland Park, since it is near to my aunt's house. This visit would not have been possible if I hadn't been on the zabihah.com app after my uncle said that we were going there. After giving the cousins food, we left my aunt's house and arrived at the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
When we arrived at the place, there was actually a waiting line! This gives a hint that this place has one of the best foods in the entire city, we just sat at the sitting area waiting for the pager to vibrate. When the pager vibrates, that means a table is ready for you. Inside was bustling. There was a bar that showed the Royals vs Rockies game. Nearly every table was full. We got one of the booths. We were immediately offered water as we sat down along with the menus. After a few minutes, we were ready to order.



Let's Eat!
I ordered the New Zealand rack of lamb, the only zabiha halal thing in the restaurant. My uncle ordered a steak, my sister ordered shrimp, and my aunt ordered tilapia. For appetizers, we ordered onion rings. Condiments included ketchup and homemade BBQ sauce. Everyone in the group eats zabiha except my uncle. Anyone who attacks either on Facebook, email, or this blog will be reported. We specifically asked to cook everything separately to avoid cross-contamination. At $32.50 + tax, the New Zealand rack of lamb takes the title of the most expensive food item that I have ever tried in this blog and my entire life. The waiting time was decent, but I will be lenient since the restaurant was packed like crazy



Menu (click to view): Dine-in,
Well, the prices clearly indicate that this is the most expensive restaurant that I have ever visited in this blog. Pork is served, but the lamb and seafood can be cooked separately. Also, the vast majority of the other menu items only have the non-halal meats.

The Onion Rings, and the red thing is BBQ sauce.  My aunt is also annoyed at how my uncle is always on the phone lol

The Caesar Salad.


The Rack of lamb with a cheese and chive spud and jelly


The Verdict:
To be very honest, we horribly underestimated how big the onion rings would be. But when I tried it, it was absolutely amazing! This takes the title as the best onion rings that I have ever had in my entire life. It went very well with the BBQ sauce. The Caesar salad itself was off the chains. The vegetables were very fresh, and the portion was really big. Then the grand finale: the rack of lamb. It may look small, but it was very filling. The spud came with a bonus: cream! By the time I finished this, I was completely stuffed. Only one word to describe the dish: divine.
The service was top notch too. There were constant refills, and the waitress had a nice smile on her face. She was very helpful, let us take our time to decide what to order, and told us about what had alcohol and bacon so that we would know what not to order.



Conclusion:
Jack Stack shows why Kansas City is the BBQ capital of America. Their lamb was as amazing as the BBQ might be. Let's hope one day that halal meat could be used to cook other items like ribs and brisket. I would definitely recommend and I would definitely come and visit again whenever I visit Kansas City Again.



Restaurant Information
Service: 10/10
Food: 10/10
Waiting Time: 10/10
Overall: 30/30 = 100% (A)
Pricing: $$$$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Jack Stack BBQ
9520 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, Kansas 66212
Phone: (913) 385-7427
Website: http://www.jackstackbbq.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackstackbbq
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jackstackbbq; @jackstackbbq
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 10 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 10:30 PM; Sun: 11 AM - 9 PM
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed


Monday, August 25, 2014

Chilli n Spice Indian Bistro: Vacation Time!

Restaurant: Chilli n Spice Indian Bistro
8562 West 133rd Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66213
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 8/19/14


Photo Credit: http://www.kansastravel.org/kansastravelblog/blog120417a.JPG


Background: 
Salam/hey guys! Sorry I have been late as I had no laptop during my vacation to Kansas City (Overland Park is one of the most affluent suburbs in the Kansas City area). So anyways, here is my first review outside Texas in over a year! Like most cities, the vast majority of halal restaurants in the Kansas City Metro are either Indian/Pakistani or Arab. And we go from right where we left off: Indian food. I don't usually eat Indian food outside because my mom makes the exact same food back home in Houston, but that doesn't mean that I don't like any Indian restaurants. But when I actually go, it is either a family trip or getting takeout; very rarely do I go myself or with my friends. In this case, Instead of going myself, I went with my aunt, sister, and cousin. They said the food was pretty good for a buffet. She also said that food in Kansas City is very good compared to the food in Houston. We planned on going here after watching Maleficient. After the 20 minute drive, we arrived at the place.



Let The Experience Begin!
Chilli n Spice Indian Bistro is located at the intersection of W 133rd and Antioch. Next to the restaurant is an Indian grocery store, so if you need some groceries, you can go there. It was pretty packed inside, even though it was nearly 3 PM. The ambiance was quite dark. We just got in, and started eating.



Let's Eat!
Now why did we just start eating? Because it was a buffet! Now they brag that it is the "Largest Indian Buffet in the Greater Kansas City Area carrying more than 40 different items including Salads, Chutneys, Desserts, Indo-Chinese, South Indian Appetizers, Soups, Vegetarian Entrees, Biryanis, Tandoori Items, Non-Vegetarian Entrees and serving choice of Fresh Baked Nan on the table". Looking at the items, there was everything. The buffet area was divided into condiments, including the salads, chutneys, appetizers and desserts, the vegetarian items, and the non-vegetarian items. Fresh naan was served on the table. To drink, I simply had water. The buffet is $10.99 (tax NOT included).




To be honest, I am impressed at the large number of options that they offer in the restaurant. Contrary to popular belief, Indian food is not just curry or rice. Every state in India has its own specialties. The menu here focuses more on the specialties from the Southern states of India.

A plate of some of the buffet items: chicken biryani, naan, chicken curry, butter chicken, garlic chicken, and chicken tikka

The Verdict: 
The standouts were the butter chicken and the naan. The naan was crispy and fresh when it came out. The butter chicken had a lot of flavor. The others were just acceptable, except the garlic chicken. The garlic chicken had way too much garlic. The food was washed down with a glass of water. Overall, one thumb up and one side thumb.
The service was nothing to brag about. We just ate and left. It did seem like they were uninterested in working here



Conclusion: 
Chili n Spice is an ok place to dine. The food here is actually ok. I would definitely recommend the butter chicken and the naan though. Looks like I will give them a second chance with their dinner menu, since they don't have the buffet.



Grading
Service: 7/10
Food: 7.5/10
Waiting Time: N/A
Overall: 14.5/20 = 72.5% (C)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Chilli n Spice Indian Bistro
8562 West 133rd Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66213
Phone: (913) 681-3663
Website: http://www.chillinspice.com/Default.aspx
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chilli-N-Spice/136475986476240
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChillinSpiceKC
Timings: Lunch --> Tue-Fri: 11 AM - 2:30 PM; Sat-Sun: 11 AM - 3 PM
Dinner --> Tue-Sun: 5:30 PM - 10 PM
Closed Mondays
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed