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Kabobs Minneapolis

Hey, Has anyone been to the new Kabobs Restaurant in Bloomington? Dara, the City Pages food writer, gave it such a rave review this week and I'm itching to and get some Hyderabad-inspired food, but want to know about other chowhounders' opinion about the place. Thanks!

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  1. I saw that review today and was pretty shocked. I think I reported about it in our March end update but we went to Kabobs about 3 weeks ago and were incredibly disappointed. They were out of the first 3 things we picked. We ended up with 1 type of kabob and chicken tikka masala. The kebob was cold and dry and the tikka masala was okay yet greasy. The naan was fluffier and softer than most places, which was a plus in my book. We also had the goat biryani and it was nothing special, and had random bones in it which was really frustrating. It's also definitely a takeout place. We would have sat there but it was freezing cold inside.

    1 Reply
    1. re: katebauer

      Hi katebauer, Thanks for posting about your experience. It sounds like the food is very varied in quality and temperature! Or maybe Dara caught them on a really, really, really good day. I'll have to drop by sometime - maybe not as soon as I was planning to - just to give them more time (if that's what it takes) to iron out their kitchen idiosyncrasies. DK

    2. we just tried it, and it was pretty good. I wouldn't say it's the BEST I've ever had, but I would go back. Katebauer is right, the naan was pretty nice. My husband had a spicy beef kebab and I had the ground chicken kebab. the beef was spicy enough to give me the hiccups, and the chicken was flavorfully spiced and fairly mild. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't come with any rice. The portions are quite big and enough for 2 meals. It does have the atmosphere of a takeout place for sure. On another note, while we waited for our kebabs we tried a taco at the Mexican place a few doors down. Very nice steak tacos, my favorite I've had so far in the Twin Cities.

      3 Replies
      1. re: cheetobrain

        Were your kebabs cold? We can't figure out what happened. We waited 20 minutes while they prepared the food so we were surprised that they were cold.

        1. re: katebauer

          no, ours were warm. the woman told us it would take 20 minutes because each kebab order is prepared fresh. I'm surprised yours were cold as well.

        2. re: cheetobrain

          Hi, Thanks for the report on the spiciness of the food and the good naan. Do you think they need time to get their act together? I am definitely going to check it out and report back here. DK

        3. I went with the Countess of Sandwich and our chowpup last week, so I was amused to see the Dara review this Wednesday. Ahead of the Pages curve again! We live a couple of miles up Portland, so its a real convenient trip for us.

          I must say that I am happy about the chow options in this strip mall! I love the Morelos outlet two doors down from Kabob. The Morelos Mex-Grill locations in at the Hub in Richfield and off of Eat Street are restaurants, but this location is a taqueria along the lines of La Pineda. You order at the counter and can see all the little trays of ingredients to pick from. The other Indian bookend for Morelos is India Cafe, and thats where the Sandwich family was headed , only to find that we were too early for their 5:30 suppertime opening. So, we went into Kabobs instead.

          It certainly is a lousy place to dine in. I mean, I enjoy hole-in-the-wall places as much as any 'hound as long as the chow is good, but this place is downright uncomfortable.
          The layout (such as it was) felt awkward as we ordered while looking over the handwritten menu posters on the wall, and the lady came up front to help us select, but I could get over this.
          I think that the food holds promise, though, and I am happy to read that this is the beta-test stage for a "real" restaurant.

          I had the Chicken 65, which Dara raved. I, too, thought that it was unique and addictive. Our naan was hot and just right. We avoided the biryani due to the reports here that it was dry, but Dara dug it. Hmmmm. I will probably give it a go in the future, and also try an eponymous kabob.

          We also went across Portland to the Patel Bros grocery. They have a large case of indian sweets in back, from which we sampled, and its a nearby source for imported Indian microwave meals-in-a-pouch that I enjoy taking to work for lunch.


          1 Reply
          1. re: EarlOfSandwich

            Thanks. Sounds like there are other promising options if Kabobs is having an off day! DK

          2. I've been going since, really, the day they opened. It's near where I work and I'm always in quest of good lunch spots. The first time I went, with some work mates, everything was great. Moist, hot, spicy, flavorful.

            A few weeks later it seemed that the death spiral had begun. My vegetable khorma was ok, but the other peoples' food was cold, stringy, chewy.

            Maybe they figured it out and are spiraling up again. I hope so. I'll go back soon, if only to encourage them.

            But for my money, India Cafe in the same strip is better. Different, though. Their specialty is dossa, and I do mean dossa. A couple of dozen varieties to choose from, including some of their own invention.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Loren3

              Point noted, Loren3. I'll keep my fingers crossed when I get there and will definitely have a look at India Cafe. Good Indian food is just this side of blissful. DK

              1. re: Loren3

                Shhhhh! Don't let our secret out... hopefully the hoardes will blindly follow Dara, while the real quality Indian food is served a few doors down.

                1. re: Loren3

                  We went to India Cafe Friday night and will definitely be back for more!

                  I had a delicious Mysore Masala Dosa (great dosa, great filling) and the countess had Pongal, which was a delicately spiced (as in sweet cinnamon type spices) rice dish.

                  My only problem was that I burned the HELL out of my mouth taking a big spoonful of the tomato soup that we ordered for the two-year-old. It was stupid of me to take a big gulp right away without checking the temperature. At least I took the bullet for her, because she would have been screaming. It was delicious, though, when it cooled down. A bit of spice to it, but the 'pup ate quite a bit. The menu also has a kiddy dosa, which I thought was neat, and we will try that next time for her.

                  I think it's great that there are two Indian places a couple doors down from each other that have quite different selections. India Cafe is all vegetarian and concentrates on the dosas and uthappams, while if you are hankerin' for some meat, Kabobs is your choice.

                  Unless they are driving in from further afield, there must be a sizable population of South Asians living in Richfield and east Bloomington. We went to the Indian grocery store a couple doors down from India Cafe and it was very busy (7PM Friday). I wasn't sure if it would be like that evey night or just Friday nights, or if that was the eve of a special holiday or something.

                  The leftover sambar, coconut chutney, and soup were nice with our Trader Joe's samosas last night!


                  1. re: EarlOfSandwich

                    The coconut chutney from India Cafe is soooo good! I had some left over from a recent lunch (a dosa with potatoes and onions - yum!), and I ate it with a spoon as an afternoon snack.

                    I think it would make a dynamite sorbet - I wonder if they would sell me a pint to experiment with?


                2. After driving all over Bloomington/Richfield area to find a bite to eat and had remembered what we had read about Kabobs in City Pages like a day prior, so we tried it. Wow was it good!! I feel as if I overate and still had leftovers.. (just ate some of it for lunch..still have more!) We ordered from the vegetarian menu.. had the Vegetable Biryani, for $5.99 they sure give you alot of food, it was presented quite nicely too.. with tomato slices, and other veggies. We also ordered (forget the name now) a dish that was vegetables in tomato sauce, it was pretty good too, both were really hot and fresh! Then we also ordered two things of Naan thinking they'd each by 1/4 of what they really were. For $1.25 I bet you could make a pizza with it better than that Boboli(sp?) stuff. Anyways, if you can get past the four tables & enjoy the flavors it's awesome! ! ! ! Very good. I noticed it was pretty busy with takeout orders. I plan on eating there & taking out again in the future!!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bijougem

                    I had the chicken 65 last night,and it was getting busy with take out orders.The owner asked me about naan,and said I should have it with my order.I waited while they made it,and the above poster is dead on-its huge and delicious.The Chicken 65 was ALL chicken,spiiicy and darn good!I had the leftovers this morning.I'll have to explore some of the other eateries in this strip mall.

                    Can't wait to try more of Kabobs stuff.

                    1. re: Gastron

                      I was at Kabob's too last night, it was busy. We did get the Chicken 65, Chicken Biryani and the samosas. They do serve a lot of food at a very reasonable price. I dont mind waiting for the food as long as what I am getting is delicious it is worth all the wait. Some of the other customers near me ordered lamb kabobs, the dish looked delicious. Maybe I'll try it next time when I go there.
                      I too plan on eating there in the future.

                  2. My wife and I visited Kabobs on Saturday night, after we had read the Citypages review. We were not disappointed at all -- in fact we were quite amazed.

                    We arrived at around 7 p.m. At first glance from the strip mall's parking lot you'll be somewhat skeptical in that the restaurant is quite small, with seating accomodations for maybe 20 to 25 people max. There is no ambiance -- florescent lighting with little or no wall art, with chairs of the sort you'd see around a card table in your uncle's basement at the next get-together. Walk-up orders and takeout pick-ups are handled by the owner, from a card table in front of the kitchen. It's a family-run business, featuring small children doing homework at one of the tables, with the owner supervising their progress.

                    When we arrived it was quite busy, with a line of people out the door. The menu is handwritten on the wall to the left of the line. We didn't know what to order as this was our first experience with purely authentic Indian cuisine. We told the owner / order taker this and he was most gracious in assisting us, first asking if we prefer mild or spicy food, and then asking whether we prefer lamb, chicken, goat, or beef.

                    We ended up getting a variety of dishes -- entrees featuring goat in an extremely spicy yet flavorful tomato base stew and an assortment of fresh vegetables, and chicken in a curry yogurt sauce. We also ordered sides of minced beef and chicken samozas (sp?) and two orders of naan bread. Since it was so busy, we decided to order it to go.

                    Kabobs more than makes up for its lack of seating accomodations and ambience with professional, courteous service and fresh and flavorful food. My wife and I were literally blown away with how good everything tasted. Plus, the portions were generous enough to provide us not only a full sit-down meal at home, but enough in leftovers for lunch today. I just finished the rest of the goat and naan here at work.

                    Trust me, if you're looking for something different and wish to try truly authentic Indian cuisine, look no further than Kabobs. For us it was truly a pleasurable experience.

                    Just be sure to communicate your spice tolerances to the owner.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Zoilo

                      Gr, why was our experience so bad? It seems like we'll have to try again.

                      1. re: katebauer

                        I can totally see how reviews can be so inconsistent just by looking at how divergent the dishes are. There's a lot of variety in their menu, not just in ingredients but in the dishes themselves, from kabobs to samosas to the naan and several forms of rice, etc... It's going to be interesting seeing places like Kabobs and other Indian restaurants start to flourish with the ever-increasing Indian population and general demand for more options in ethnic cuisine. And once people become more familiar with the food and competition increases, the better it's going to get -- similar to Chinese food over the past couple/three decades.

                        1. re: Zoilo

                          Let's just hope that the trend toward buffets doesn't afflict Indian the way is has Chinese. There is an Indian buffet in Bloomie, Tandoor Restaurant, off American just west of 35W. It's quite good. But still...

                          And I'm glad Kabob seems to be back on track. I liked the place a lot when it first opened, and my meaty-treaty colleagues aren't so much with the vegetarian-only menu at India Cafe.

                          1. re: Loren3

                            Loren, do you by any chance know the name of the Kobobs dish that features a curry yogurt sauce with the larger chunks of white chicken?

                            It would be nice to know just so I can call ahead next time.

                            Thanks for the tip on Tandoor Restaurant.

                            1. re: Zoilo

                              I've had only vegetarian there, so I don't know off the top of my head. Could it be a korma?


                              1. re: Loren3

                                My mom brought home leftovers the other day... delicious! :-D I don't remember what it was called though... they give you a ton of rice if you order just rice. So cheap too.

                    2. Yummy Desi food, way closer to home cooking than most of the other 'Indian' Restaurants out there. I too saw the review in CP, and while I don't at all like Dara and her particular bent as far as food reviewing, I asked around in the Indian & Bangla communities and got raves... and decided to go check it out.

                      However, I almost turned around and left when I got there the first time, as the line was out the door (turns out that that was the takeout line) and the place was almost full to boot. I have since been back there a handful of times, and each time the food has been wonderful, an entirely different thing than the usual 'fine dining' Indian fare. The food is just as good if not better, the prices are 1/3 to 1/2 less expensive, and the portions are double the size - well, they have my business for life. The service can be a bit loose at times but as it's a cafeteria style shop I will not hold that against them. So far I have tried the Aloo Mattar, the Bhindi Masala, Zafarani Rice, Samosas and Naan. They haven't worn the welcome out on me yet, and while I am a meat eater, I tend towards the vegetarian option, but I look forward to trying everything else out on the menu, except goat - I have had the same experience with the stray bones in the goat at E African restaurants, no warning, either!

                      However, take the good with the bad: The bathroom is not nearly as clean as it should be, the Gulab Jamun that I looked forward to at the end of the meal was out of a can... They close at 10:30 pm, and I hope to see them open til 11 or 12. The owner is quite personable, and is planning to expand a bit.. I begged him to please not change the working aesthetics of the restaurant and he assured me that while he acknowledges the need for more seating room, the food, prices & casual dining environment will not change.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: isfahani

                        Thanks Isfahani. I have yet to go there but your review is very encouraging.

                        1. re: Dairy King

                          i didin't have as nice of experience there, but the food was pretty good. their daal is really tasty. i had the equivalent of a chicken kabob (ground meat around a stick). it's nice, but the daal was more tasty. the side-sauces it came with were awesome. their naan is fantabulous (get the plain for 1.25 & be amazed). i guess it's the whole experience of trying to interpret the menu that got to me. the people there weren't helpful. i tried to do more research before getting there, but the menu on their website is totally wrong.

                          1. re: reannd

                            What a great spot. Chicken 65 was spicy but complex. The rhemi (sp?) kabobs were also great and the sauces that came with them were outstanding. $1.25 for a pizza size naan that was excellent is a stael. I also recommend the chicken samosas.

                            1. re: reannd

                              I am still very happy with Kabobs - enough to make the trip from Crystal to Bloomington via bus & train to eat there, as I am vehicle-less, every Monday night for the past (almost) month! I wonder if my experience there would be any lesser if I went during a rush hour, though, as the owner has been there every evening that I have, and answers questions with ease... When he's not busy taking orders on his bluetooth! IMO the younger guys he hires to work there could use some more training, or previous restaurant experience tho! The bathroom is the same :( I am trying to get thru the menu dish by dish & the different things I have tried have all been very good, with the exception of the lentil and lamb concoction, which, while it wasn't really bad, was just... Weird. So, come Monday nights, there I will be, inclement weather or no.

                        2. We went for supper this evening. Tandoori fish was delicious! A whole fish about 7-8" long for $6.99. The samosas are cheap and tasty as always. They seem to keep exanding the menu as there are even more hand lettered sheet s with more dishes on the surrounding the window into the kitchen in addition to the original ones on the left wall. Several "Indo-Chinese" dishes now, so they can take care of your dining companions who would prefer the comfort of Sweet and Sour Chicken while you get your Hyderabadi chow on.

                          GOOD NEWS! I asked the "front of house" (such as it is) guy how the search for a larger location is going and he said that the tax office next door (between Kabob's and La Mixteca) is moving out and that they plan to move into that space. The current space will be take- away only while the expansion space will be a dining room. He also said that they were opening a location in downtown Minneapolis. I got no further details. I would assume that tax office would not be vacating until sometime after April.

                          Kabobs Restaurant and Meat Shop
                          7814 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: EarlOfSandwich

                            Good news for us downtowners. Teahouse downtown....now Kabobs. Has anyone heard of any additional details?

                            1. re: EarlOfSandwich

                              So, better late than never. I finally made it to Kabobs. Loved the garlic naan--hot and tender and delicious. I had the chicken kabobs (tandoor), very tender and moist, along with a cucumber and ice lettuce salad. It came with two lovely sauces--a cool yogurt raiti and a red spicy one that was absolutely addictive. I mopped every last bit of it up with the naan. My dining companion had the chicken curry special of the day and a side of basmati rice. I'm hardly an expert in Indian cuisine, but, the curry tasted a bit dumbed down to me. Still, it was tasty. The dishes seem to come out of the kitchen in a completely random order (which might be their solution to the cold food problem katebauer mentioned--they seem to just bring the food out of the kitchen when it's done and not try to time the food so all the orders for a table come up together, etc.) and there were more people working behind the counter (I counted 7, 8 if you include the waiter) than diners. But, they were doing a brisk take-out/catering business.

                              I think this will be a nice little stop for days when we need to do a Home Depot run, which we do often this time of year. I can't believe that little Town and Country Mall area--so full of chowishness, practically a Little India, it seems, plus La Mixteca.

                              I was curious, though, if Earl of Sandwich or anyone had heard about their potential move? It's "after" April now, ya know! It seemed that there was a large vacant space next door, but it had a Dollar Tree Coming Soon kind of sign, which seemed like it does not bode well for their expansion...

                              Their website is mum--still "under construction."


                            2. I am a big Kabobs fan. I do admit that it took some time hitting my stride, but once I did, I usually go once a week. My favorites are Chicken 65, Chicken Biyrani, Garlic Naan, Mango Lassi, Chili Chicken, and the Beef Samosas. I will try new dishes in the past. I am looking forward to them expanding into the "Liberty Tax" building. Except for a few exceptions, their foods have been mostly excellent. I like the owners too, who always ask "How was it?" and I say, "Wonderful".

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: mahlerii

                                Mid-summer update:

                                Now I must eat here at least once a week or I am not happy. As a working musician I need to budget even more nowadays and I'd much rather give my money to places like this: smaller and family owned, that are actually concerned about the quality. The owners and staff are very friendly and it's much more pleasant to me than the atmosphere of many other restaurants I have tried lately.

                                I find the chai here to be among the best I have had anywhere and while it is a little different each time (I like that tho, it proves it's not premade even if you couldn't see them making it thru the service window) it has a very interesting effect on my being in that I find it very soothing.

                                I have sampled most of the menu at this point, and haven't found anything to dislike. The Indo-Chinese offerings are just as good as the main part, although since they have only one cook that specializes in the Indo-Chinese fare, be prepared to wait a little longer. The Ginger Chicken is great!

                                NEWS FLASH: It sounds like the Bloomington site expansion has been put on hold, but here's some other good news: They're opening up a place in Maple Grove where Kabob and Curry was on the main drag: 8085 Wedgewood Ln N. The target date for opening is the 15th of August...

                                Kabob's Restaurant
                                7814 Portland Ave S Minneapolis MN

                                1. re: isfahani

                                  Anything new on the menu? What's good these days?

                                  1. re: dave43

                                    Kabobs is opening in the Galleria food court in a week.

                                    1. re: dave43

                                      Dave- are they closing their Bloomington store or are they just opening a new store in the Galleria?

                                        1. re: Bobannon

                                          Sorry...Gavidae. Just another opening.

                                          1. re: dave43

                                            wait--- so i won't have to drive to burbdom to get kabobs?!? same menu?!?

                                            and will the bloomington location close?

                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                              Bloomington is not closing. The Gavidae location is open. They are serving buffet style. load up a plate for $5. It's nice to have choices but usually the quality suffers. I was there last week and it was OK. Nothing stood out except for a goat curry that was pretty good. I never have high expectations with buffets though. Anyone else been there?

                                              1. re: dave43

                                                Went back again. Definitely one of the better buffets I've had. The Tandoori chicken was moist and I had the Goat curry again which is my favorite. Dara did a write up on this place and gave it high marks.

                                                1. re: dave43

                                                  I waited until last week to go, hoping that they would be serving from the menu. However, they've changed their original plans and are now going to be buffet only. With the lines that were there, I'm guessing that they had to do this to meet demand. Five dollars is a good price and they charge $1 extra for dosas.

                                                  I also liked the goat curry the best and found everything else to be pretty ho-hum. The appetizers (lentil doughnuts, etc.) were lukewarm and soggy. The tandoori chicken didn't seemed to be baked in a tandoor - the spices didn't set - it was almost like roast chicken with Indian spices. I'm hoping that this has been fixed based on Dave's second report.

                                                  I'll go back to give it another try, but it might be a while, as I normally bring my lunch.