Review by Hazel Ford–
Back-set from Greenback Lane in a largely unnoticed strip mall near San Juan High School, the front window of “Kabab N Tikka” is decorated with pictures of various ethnic dishes that diners will find offered inside.
Entering the Pakistani-Indian restaurant on a recent afternoon, my companion and I had the place to ourselves, and were able to enjoy the quiet as we considered our options for lunch and glanced around at the ethnic jewelry and garments on the walls. We were pleasantly surprised to find the restaurant fairly affordable, with most appetizers and dishes running from 3 to 13 dollars.
After being seated, our attentive waiter and cook, Shakeel, hurried to the kitchen for glasses and bottles of water and returned to take our order. I settled on the Seekh Kabab and a side of Naan bread, while my friend ordered Samosa Chaat for an appetizer and Palak Paneer with rice.
While we waited for our orders, we watched as chefs prepared the meal through the open doorway to the kitchen and were impressed to see Shakeel skewering meat on a long metal shaft hanging from the ceiling to cook.
In a short while, the basket of Samosa Chaat — battered vegetable fritters — was delivered with two dipping sauces. The first sauce had a tangy, citrus-vinegar taste, while the second was primarily mint. The appetizer was easily large enough for two people, and by the time we were finished the rest of the food was served.
On a later visit to the restaurant, we were somewhat disappointed that a $10 order of chicken tikka masala didn’t come with rice included on the side. The creamy and flavorful sauce pairs well with rice, so a side-order along with the dish is a must — and also makes the smaller dish sufficiently filling.
Overall, the presentation of the dishes was appealing, and we both enjoyed the ethnic flavors. The Seekh Kabab, two generously sized beef kebabs with onions and lemon, were flavorful, and the spicy, coconut-infused Palak Paneer with homemade cheese was the perfect curry for our rice. The clay, oven-baked Naan bread was warm and soft, though slightly greasy. My personal favorite was definitely the Palak Paneer.
After we finished our lunch, Shakeel, whose son owns the restaurant, informed us that Kabab N Tikka also offers an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., except during Ramadan which concludes toward the end of June. He entertained our curiosity regarding his son’s business, explaining about the dishes and even telling us that “gobhi” means “cauliflower.”
For the excellent meal presentation, attentive service, and exotic flavors, Kabab N Tikka earns 4-out-of-5 stars from The Sentinel. After tasting the entrees and appetizers, I’m eager to return for a broader experience of all that this family-run Citrus Heights restaurant has to offer.
Kabab N Tikka opened last year and is located at 7622 Greenback Ln., in the former location of Bamiyan Afghan restaurant. Sentinel readers can click here to get a $5 off coupon for Kabab N Tikka.