Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Kebab Shack - Granby Street, Norfolk, VA - NOW CLOSED
The Kebab Shack or ‘K Shack’, as I now endearingly refer to it, is a new found treasure for Laine and I. Tucked away in a small spot on the 300 block of Granby, the K Shack is a narrow space that used to be a no frills deli or pizza spot. It reminds me of a small secret that you find in a large city; nothing fancy, but great cuisine.
We arrived a little after noon and the only delay was our deciding what to order. Prior to seeing the menu, I planned on ordering falafel, but after seeing the menu, I rethought my initial decision. A vegetarian sampler caught my eye. Two grape leaves, a side of hummus, babaghanoush, sheperd salad, white bean salad and Mediterranean eggplant served with pita. All sounded great...except grape leaves. To date, I am not a fan. I asked the gal at the front if I could have something else, falafel or tabouli, instead and after checking with one of the cooks, she said yes and tabouli was the replacement. Fine by me. I was excited about my choice which only set me back about $10, and that included my $1.59 soda (deal!). You place your order, pay and then either grab your soda, juice or water from the fridge or for a better deal, grab your cup (plastic dine-in or disposable take-out) and fill your own soda from the fountain. I prefer a fountain soda to canned or bottled most days, especially if you fill it yourself and refills are aplenty.
We sat ourselves in a booth and within five to six minutes, our food arrived. We ordered separately, so it came out likewise, but still within a minute or two or one another. My platter was extremely (very, very) generous and everything looked fresh and delightful. Our food was served on real dishware, which was festive and a nice change from plastic baskets, which are popular at casual lunch places. Each plate was different, some Mediterranean themed, some striped and some polka-dotted. I enjoyed the dishes as much as my meal. My hummus was full of taste and I was ecstatic, as some can be bland (another local restaurant that I do not prefer is guilty of this). This hummus had tons of flavor, as did the tabouli, white bean salad and sheperd salad, which consisted of fresh tomatoes, green peppers, red onions and Kirby cucumbers in a light olive oil vinaigrette. The pita pieces were warmed, which was another plus. Every sampling was stocked full of taste and undoubtedly fresh. When I ordered, I could not remember if I liked babaghanoush and upon trying, decided I do not, but that is no fault of the K Shack. I think I will try to substitute something for that when I order the sampler again (if they do not mind, of course). I devoured my meal, but it did not leave me feeling too stuffed, which is good since we had to go back to work. I could not believe my meal for $10! I cannot wait to go back to the K Shack and try another item on the menu, red lentil soup and the falafel pita, possibly. From the sizes of the portions, I think any of the appetizers and soup would easily constitute a meal.
We had time to refill our drinks, sit and chat after eating, which shows how fast our food arrived and how fast, and happily, we consumed it. The folks come to clear your dishes as you finish and I would too, if I were them, to get those pretty dishes back in their hands. I think Laine and I have a new spot to add to our regulars list and of course, we will report back after the next visit.
The Kebab Shack is open daily from ** to **. They will put together take-out meals as well, so grab a menu on your way out the door.
On the front of their to-go menu it reads “We owe it to ourselves EAT HEALTHY”. Ah yes, I love guilt free calories. Growing up, I wasn’t served foods with any kind of interesting ethnic background or seasoning. I was raised on straight up, plain Yankee cooking: A meat, a starch, a vegetable. I didn’t have my first taco until I was about 25. I cannot recall my introduction to Mediterranean cuisine, but I have been a fan ever since. I enjoy the seasonings, flavors and combinations. In the Mediterranean lifestyle, meals are not just a time to eat, they are festive gatherings of family and friends. The food is the centerpiece, meant to be shared and savored. In my experience, Mediterraneans are always very proud of what they put on the table. Compliments are welcome (and expected). Complaints or dislikes on the other hand, I have learned are best kept to yourself.
Lucky for me, no complaints on our visit yesterday. First thing I noted was that the staff was very friendly. There is an open counter looking directly into the kitchen. A couple of kitchen staff said hello along with the counter girl. I was hungry and everything looked so good. I settled on a Schawarma pita; a mixture of lamb and beef seasoned with Mediterranean spices and grilled on a rotisserie Skewer. These come topped with lettuce, tomato, onions, shredded red cabbage and a garlic white sauce. In addition, I ordered White Bean Salad, which caught my eye. You might expect them to have a gyro, but don’t look for one on the menu. It isnt’ there. No worries, there are plenty of other options.
The food arrived in a timely manner. Even though you are given a number when ordering, if they aren’t busy, they will carry your food out to you. Nice touch. The food was so delicious. I have already done some research and made notes on how to duplicate the White Bean Salad. It was so good! The Schawarma was very tasty. I was a little disappointed in the quality of the pita used. The flavor was fine, but it didn’t hold up to the different liquids of the sauce and vegetables very well. Not that it fell apart, it didn’t, but it got limp and rather unstable. I notice that the side servings of pita were different, and looked like they would have better served the sandwich too. It came with a little side of something green that I couldn’t quite figure out. It smelled of cilantro to me, so I dumped a dollop on my pita. Why would anyone in their right mind do that? After a big bite I quickly determined it was H-O-T. Note to self: Do not do that again.
Our friend Brianna* joined us again, ordering the same sandwich as me, with a Baba Ghanoush side. I think I ate more of her Baba Ghanoush than she did. I loved it. I agree with Alex that it is a little different that what I have had in the past, but I really enjoyed it. All pitas are $5.99 or you can get them as a wrap for $6.99, adding a dollar to all for Beef Kabab. They don’t have any side accompaniment; fries, side salads, etc. are a la carte, ranging from 2.99 to 3.99. This will make your average sandwich meal around $10, plus a drink. Kebab platters are probably a better “deal” at $7.99 - $8.00 for most, coming with a small salad, rice and pita bread. Considering that everything is fresh and made there, I find the prices very reasonable. Portions are generous. I recommend you check it out! For a limited time, all TCC students receive 10% off with a valid ID.
319 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23510