Restaurant Review: Gyro & Kabab House
It’s not just the University Kroger that’s shut down at Olentangy and Ackerman; it’s all the shops along the sidewalk of the shopping center it once occupied. All the beloved things, the Big (and Odd) Lots, the Chinese food, the sushi. Zap, it’s all gone. While Kroger grocery stores are pretty replaceable for those with transportation, when it comes to a local favorite Cafe Kabul (famously, “a taste of Afghanistan”), there’s not exactly an equivalent around the corner.
But, there is something nearby at Graceland Shopping Center, which is now the home of Gyro & Kabab House. Both the internet and the guy at its counter say it’s the next incarnation of Cafe Kabul. If you go to the old Cafe Kabul website, it flips over to Gyros & Kebab. For pallow lovers, this is good news.
In terms of trappings, the new home in Graceland actually seems a little slicker. It still has a strong identity as an uber-casual gyro place; you order at the counter from a pretty straightforward list of options. That said, the old campus digs in the shell of a Dairy Queen always looked a little tired and dingy. The new place looks fresher.
If cheap gyros are your game, Gyro & Kabab House has you covered. They’re affordable ($4.99) and filling and less junky than something from Taco Bell. Soft pita cradles a traditional mix of crisp lettuce, feta, sauce and tomatoes with lean chunks of chicken or beef slices that are pleasantly savory and not too suspicious or oily.
That said, it’s worth investigating the more interesting options such as Lamb Pallow ($15.95), first and foremost because the pallow gives you an opportunity to eat carrot shards and sweet raisins stewed together. The duo compliment each other so nicely, and they’re dished up in a generous pile along with lamb, long-grained rice and a salad. The lamb is designed as the main act, but the mild, modest meat can’t eclipse that carrot-raisin combo. It’s just a good, functional protein excuse for the companion plant foods. The side salad is pleasant, dressed in a vinaigrette. Even if the headliner (the lamb) isn’t particularly memorable, that carrot/raisin combo is a compelling reason to give it a whirl.
The Chicken Taandoori ($11.95) is not bad. An order offers three respectably seasoned, meaty chicken legs teamed with more rice and the salad.
For a full-on salad experience, there is the Beef Gyro Salad ($9.95). As the name might indicate, it’s a cousin of the gyro sandwich, only with a more expansive commitment to the crunchy house lettuce combo, topped with beef, and the pita comes on the side.
A vertical display case holds the temptation of great big Samosas, bargain priced at $1.99. The shell is thicker than expected, with a functional classic inside with peas and potato with a little kick. Up close, they didn’t look or taste particularly fresh-from-the-fryer, but the french fries definitely were: same price, better choice.
You can find “a taste of Afghanistan” in its new digs at 128 Graceland Blvd.
For more information, visit cafekabulcolumbus.com.