My quest to try more Indian cuisine continued last week when I accidentally stumbled across Grill Kabob, a new Middle Eastern/Indian restaurant in the East Amherst area. It’s located in a plaza on Transit Rd near the Mighty Taco and Chester’s Cajun Grill. It’s not your typical Indian buffet, this restaurant also offers various Middle Eastern dishes. The majority of the Indian cuisine is focused in their buffet (that’s available for lunch and dinner) and some of their appetizers and sides. The rest of the ala carte menu focuses on Middle Eastern dishes like kabobs and shawarma wraps and naturally a couple of Buffalo pub food classics (Chicken fingers, wings, fish fry).
The restaurant is located in the former Center Ice Sports Bar and the interior still looks like a sports bar, except without the sports memorabilia or neon beer signs. There are still big screen TV’s everywhere. Behind the counter there are six large screens that show the menu with photos of the food. More TV’s are hanging through out the restaurant that were set to ESPN or CNN. It’s a change of pace from the typical look and feel of most local Indian restaurants, there was no traditional music and the seating area was pretty bare bones.
- Restaurant Type: Buffet, Casual, To Go
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Indian
- Location: East Amherst
- Prices: Buffet $10, Apps $3-5, Entrees $10-14
When you walk into the restaurant, you head straight to the front counter where you either order something off their menu or opt for the Buffet/Salad Bar. The cashier seemed very helpful and described to customers what different dishes were, what came with different menu items and how the buffet worked. On my first visit I decided to get the buffet and tried a little bit of everything.
The Chicken Makhani included tender pieces of chicken in a silky butter sauce. While the texture was great, the flavor was a little bland. The Channa Salan (a chickpea dish) was stew-like and had a heat that slowly built up over time. I really enjoyed the floral spices that gave each bite a little extra. The Beef dish was also spicy and packed with flavor, but had little bits and pieces of bones that were a little distracting while eating. There were grilled vegetables and a large salad bar, neither or which I touched. On the plus side, when you order the buffet, you get a delicious order of Naan. It was very fresh, chewy with a crisp exterior. It was some of the best Naan I’ve ever had and almost justified the buffet purchase.
On my second visit, I decided to try something off the menu and decided to see how good their Chicken Shawarma was. It wasn’t. The actual wrap that was used for the shawarma was way too thick (as seen above) and was incredibly gummy and chewy. The actual chicken meat wasn’t shaved off of a spit (not many are in WNY) but still had a nice flavor. The wrap apparently had some garlic sauce but I didn’t notice any and to top things off, there were cooked green peppers which had a weird texture and should never be included in a Chicken Shawarma. The dish was served with some standard pre-cooked french fries. There aren’t many Middle Eastern options in the Northtowns, but this wrap made me want to stay away from the rest of Grill Kabob’s wrap menu.
I wasn’t really blown away by any of the food at Grill Kabob. The buffet had some OK options but I would have enjoyed a larger selection and more flavorful meats. The Chicken Shawarma was just weird (green peppers?!) and not enjoyable to eat (gross wrap). The restaurant is still new and I’m sure they are still working out some kinks but I’m not rushing back any time soon. If you happen to try them out and stumble upon a “can’t miss” menu item, please let me know.