After All The Hype, Kebab Express Doesn’t Disappoint
I’m always up for trying a street meat cart that comes recommended by a reader, so when Lunch’er “Matt” sent in that account of Kebab Express (on 55th and 6th) I knew eventually I would have to try it (at the very least, as part of Street Meat Palooza 3!) But once I saw the YouTube video, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. If these guys spent half as much time on their food as they did making that video (it’s 7 minutes and 20 seconds worth of photos) it couldn’t be bad, right!?
Matt recommended the chicken, but I was also curious about the lamb (which they were out of yesterday) and the kobideh kebab, which is a mixture of ground beef and spices. Each order comes with one giant skewer full of meat, and they said they would give me a second skewer for $3. (Breaks the ML price range, but it was merely for sampling purposes.) $7.50 is more than your average street meat plate, but the chicken was incredibly flavorful (as promised by Matt.) It’s white meat, so it’s not the moistest cuts of meat you’ve ever eaten- but for those of you who prefer your street meat to be big “clean” chunks of white meat (like Carnegie John’s) you will definitely like Kebab Express.
The kobideh kebab was tasty as well, and had a nice crust. Could have been a bit more moist, but it’s cooked far better than you’d expect from a cart. It helps that they don’t cook the skewers too far in advance. Sometimes they’ll have a chicken kabab ready to go, but if you plan on ordering anything else I would definitely call in advance (like Matt suggested.) My order took 10 minutes to make, which is not fun when it’s 35 degrees out. I prefer the thin, borderline dry basmati rice that you get at carts like 53rd and 6th, or XPL, so I wasn’t completely down with the moist fat kernels of yellow rice that they serve- but it certainly didn’t taste bad. If you like your rice like that, you’ll enjoy… I decided to forgo white sauce and hot sauce, so that I could really taste the meat- but that might have been a mistake. Next time I’ll get it on half the meat.
Couldn’t leave without also trying the standard chicken and lamb over rice platter. The dark meat chicken was pretty flavorful, and the lamb was cut into bigger chunks- which some people like and some people don’t. Also love that thye throw a falafel ball and a few french fries in there. (Bonus!) Once again, I didn’t love the rice and the white sauce and hot sauce were pretty standard… but all in all it’s a good plate of street meat, and will definitely be appearing in this summer’s Street Meat Palooza 3. Clearly the kebabs are the draw of Kebab Express.
All in all a great find courtesy of Lunch’er Matt, especially for those of you who prefer their street meat to be grilled in big chunks- rather than chopped up into an unrecognizable mush.
- I love the grilled flavor you get with the kabab meat
- The chicken kabab is marinated, giving it a great flavor
- I want to try some street meat, but only like white meat chicken that looks like real chicken
- I like Carnegie John’s but wished it tasted less Greek and more Middle Eastern
- I love it when carts throw extra surprises in like a falafel ball, or french fries
- You can call ahead and place your order, so you don’t have to wait
- Kebabs are good, but $7.50 is a bit too much for a plate of street meat
- The rice is a bit waterlogged
- The grill dries the meat out a bit more than I like
- White sauce is pretty standard, and the hot sauce could be hotter
- Takes way too long!
Kabab Express, SE Corner of 55th and 6th, 347-666-0554