Food Porn: Shawarma King

I’m not exactly sure how I first found out about Shawarma King but for the last 6 months it’s been on my to do list as one of the places I wanted to visit for a cheap lunch.  A couple months ago we tried to stop by and try their food but the exterior looked grim and we assumed the place had closed for good.  Then just a few weeks later I saw the Buffalo.com crew had stopped by for lunch and started second guessing myself and whether or not we had even went to the right building in the first place.

It took me 3 months but I finally got it right and made a visit on a Wednesday afternoon for a lunch with my brother.  The place still looked as dead as I remembered and if not for a small open sign I would have assumed they were still closed.  Initially we thought we’d eat inside restaurant but after walking in and seeing two empty drink coolers and receiving some weird customer service, my brother and I decided to place our orders to go.

Quick Info:

We walked into a completely empty restaurant and after saying “hello?” someone came out from the kitchen and looked confused when I asked if they had a menu.  There was no menu anywhere to be found aside from the combination pictures posted behind the counter.  I followed up my unanswered question by asking if the pictures of the 9 combos behind him was the whole menu and he responded by saying “we have a good shawarma”.  Clearly there were some language barriers but my brother and I eventually ordered 2 chicken shawarma’s (I was told they didn’t have beef, even though the uploaded menu online clearly shows it as an option) and several beef and cheese samosa’s.

The chicken shawarma ($4, pictured above, bottom) was surprisingly large for only $4.  Wrapped in a large pita, the chicken had an sweet flavor that was different then what I was expecting.  The wrap had lettuce, tomato, garlic sauce and grilled onions but only small amounts of each as the focus of the wrap was primarily the chicken.  We were asked if we’d like our shawarmas to be spicy but when we bit into them there was virtually no heat at all.  The overall taste of our wraps was decent but not even close to what Shish Kabab Express  on Hertel is serving.

The beef and cheese samosa’s ($1, pictured above, top) were the star of our lunch. Similar to a Puerto Rican pastelillo or a Jamaican beef pattie, these deep fried triangles were incredibly flavorful and delicious.  The main difference with the samosas was a much thinner pastry shell that could barely contain all of the beef, cheese and onions inside.  While our shawarmas didn’t have any heat, these samosas had a really good spicy kick to match the strong seasoned flavor in the beef and onions.  For only $1 each, these are great cheap snacks and if Shawarma King was within walking distance from my house, I would be trouble.

After looking up other reviews and seeing a different menu online, I’m not sure what exactly happened with our visit to Shawarma King.  If they do in fact have a bigger menu, it’s unfortunate that they didn’t express that to me and/or flat out lied when they said they didn’t have any beef shawarmas.  When we ended up paying for our meal, the cashier didn’t have any change to give me 32 cents and actually had to ask another employee for a quarter.  Maybe we just happened to visit at a really bad time, but I’m only in that area of the West Side for specific reasons (aka food) and I don’t think Shawarma King will be one of those reasons in the near future.

Photo Gallery:

Shawarma King on Urbanspoon

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