Address: 5600 Hillcroft Street, Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: Buffet
Date of visit: 8/16
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be doing a really quick review of another Afghan place called Afghan Express. I got to go here from my internship because I did not bring lunch from home. Since it was a Tuesday, I could eat lunch, then head immediately back to work.
Now let me tell you something about the location. In the past 5 years, there have been 3 separate restaurants that have occupied the space. Afghan Express is the 3rd one. The only other time that a new halal place replaces an old halal place was when Fatoush replaced Aladdin's (independent of the Aladdin on Westheimer).
One thing to note about this place is that it has received a lot of positive feedback on the Internet. In fact, I first heard about this place via extremely heavy promotion on Facebook in various groups. What immediately caught my eye was that they used the same logo as Afghan Dastarkhwan and put Afghan Express on it. It turns out that the same people who used to own Afghan Dastarkhwan now own this place. There is even an article written about them by Houstonia Magazine named "Why You Should Try Afghan Express' $10 Lunch Buffet" (article: http://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2016/4/29/why-you-should-try-afghan-express-10-lunch-buffet).
Let The Experience Begin!
Inside, it was DEAD. For most of the time, I was the only one inside the restaurant eating the food. It was incredibly eerie. There was only a TV. I got in and started eating.
It was a buffet consisting of various Afghan items like Kabuli Pulao, bolani, and the Afghan version of chicken tikka. It came with free naan. To drink, I just had water. I paid a total of $10.98 (tax included).
The buffet from what I know is only on the weekdays for lunch. The online menu on the other hand is for other times. Now, one thing: WHICH MENU IS THE CORRECT ONE??? Both have different prices on them for the majority of the menu items. How can you commit a fundamental mistake by not deciding what prices to use? If anyone were to dine in for the first time, you give them one menu with one set of prices, and then you actually charge them the prices from the second set, then you'll lose customers and you'll get a bad reputation for ripping people off.
|Top: naan. Bottom right: Kabuli pulao, chicken korma, chappli kabab, chicken kabab, and chicken tikka. Bottom left: daal, bolani, chappli kabab, chicken korma, and chicken tikka|
The food was a hit an miss. The naan and the chappli kabab were the only things that I liked. That's it. I didn't like the Kabuli Pulao (or rather the Kabuli Pulao rice as it lacked the lamb shank). I didn't like the daal as well, and this is from someone who is a huge daal fanatic. The chicken tikka, chicken kabab, and chicken korma were OK. However, one of the pieces of chicken tikka that I had was actually raw (I wish I still had the pic). The bolani was without a doubt the worst that I have ever had in any Afghan place. I expected much much better. Overall, one thumb down.
The service was much worse. No greeting from the owner. Literally no words said. During my entire trip, he was very quiet. I said "Thank you" and he never responded. Never has this happened to me in a while. What also put me off was that when a group of older customers came, he was very friendly greeted them, and even conversed with them. I don't know whether it's either favoritism or it's that the owner is like this towards other people or youngsters or that he was scared that I was going to say something bad about his food.
I'm not going to lie. I was thinking of trying their a-la-carte one day if the buffet was good. But since both the buffet and service did not hit the mark, I'd neither recommend this place nor would visit the place again. Heck, if I want some good Afghan food, I'd just head to Afghan Village or Afghan Cuisine.
Total: 8/20 = 40% (F)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$
5600 Hillcroft Street, Houston, Texas
Phone: (281) 974-2163
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11 AM - 10 PM
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