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:

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.

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.

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

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Zain Mohammed

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