Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kebab and Curry, new Indian restaurant in B/CS

It's rare that my boss gets to a restaurant before I do, but that's what happened with Kebab and Curry in College Station.  It's located where Spice Bowl used to be located in the former Lack's shopping center next to Ohana, Quizno's and 4.0 & Go.

Looks just like Spice Bowl.  But different.

Those of us who remember Spice Bowl won't help but notice this place looks just like Spice Bowl with a new coat of paint.  I'm not sure if this Kebab and Curry is part a chain that you can see in cities around the country, but the sign out front looks exactly like the others. This restaurant has only been open 2-3 weeks and they often forget to turn on the sign out front.  If it's off, check to see if the door is open.  If it is, they're open for business.  Neither the owners nor the kitchen staff are any of the ones from Spice Bowl.

It's not often that you see wooden menus.

On this trip I as dining with The Lovely Spouse and a long-time friend.  So you'll notice more dishes ordered than usual.  That's because it was all split among 3 people instead of 2.  We all ordered appetizers and entrees, as well as naan.

Mango Lassi.

The Lovely Spouse started with a mango lassi.  For those who have never had a lassi, it's pretty much a yogurt milkshake.  Mango ones are flavored with mango puree.  The one here was also flavored with ground pistashio. 

Chicken strips with tandoori spices.

Aloo gobi pakora. Fried potatoes and califlower.

The Lovely Spouse and I got the chicken strips, aloo gobi pakora, and tamarind chutney for appetizers.  The chicken strips were quite good and the spice mixture played well with the chutney.  The aloo gobi pakora was surprisingly tasteless and needed the chutney to give it flavor.  That said, it would be a wonderful way to potentially get kids to eat their califlower as it tasted very much like french fries.

Pineapple and coconut soup.

Our friend got the chef special pineapple and coconut soup.  It was quite sweet and tasted like dessert. Towards the bottom of the bowl they found roasted garlic, which they said blended nicely with the sweet.  According to the owner or manager this soup is normally served very spicy but this milder version was made with American tastes in mind.  I think I'd have prefered the original spicy version, because the only thing separating this one from a pina colada was an immersion blender and some rum. That, and I enjoy the interplay of sweet and spicy.

Bhendi masala, or okra curry.
Beef vindaloo. Spicy but not as much as is usually expected. I'm suspecting everything was "Americanized".
Shrimp and pumkin curry.

For entrees we got the bhendi masala (okra in tomato curry sauce), beef vindaloo and shrimp and pumpkin curry.  The okra was quite good to start.  I liked it because it was crisp and tasted like okra.  The problem was making a meal out of it.  By the time I was fully I was tired of the taste and it became sickly sweet.  The beef vindaloo had a great flavor but the bone fragments were kind of strange. It was a t-bone and it appears the bone was shattered during prep. The shrimp and pumpkin curry had a great flavor but the shrimp were very over-cooked, as is evident in the image above. All entrees are served with rice, however naan is an extra $1 per serving.

The rice stood out as quite delicious.
So one thing kind of struck me as odd.  The person waiting tables, who I suspect was also an owner/manager, was not cleanly dressed.  Perhaps there was a service accident earlier in the day or something? I don't know.  But when the cook/chef came out to ask us about our meals, something that's quite a cool thing to do, he was absolutely filthy.  I don't expect people who cook and clean all day to look pristine but it's a strange impression to leave with your customers: coming out covered in what's probably food.  We also saw very large men, wearing bluetooth headsets, and obviously not chefs/cooks by the way they were expensively dressed, coming out of the kitchen at one point in the meal.  It struck us as odd to see men who looked like linebackers coming out of the kitchen to see who's in the dining room.  Particularly since the only people in the dining room were our party of three.

Will we be back?  Maybe.  The food was alright and the prices were good.  But there's still the baggage of Spice Bowl left in that location (Spice Bowl repeatedly failed health inspections).  The lack of cleanliness on the server and cook didn't help instill confidence.  Neither did the watchful eyes of the men from the kitchen. Comparisons to Taz are inevitable and I just feel more comfortable at Taz.

Do I recommend Kebab and Curry?  It's a brand-new restaurant and I'm curious as to what other people's experiences there might be.  Have any of you visited there?  What's your impression of the place?

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