Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Some of us are old enough to remember going to Gabriel's back in the eighties. In those days it was a great place to eat oysters, drink beer and have a po’ boy sandwich. That’s why I was pretty excited to hear that Gabriel's was re-opening in Sherwood.

I know my expectations were quite high when we went there today for lunch, and having only opened a few weeks ago they still have some kinks to work out. Biggest of which is getting some experience into the staff. Our waiter seemed confused and aimless through most of our visit, having the most trouble trying to figure out how to work the POS computer.

We were greeted warmly with a handshake and a, “let’s have lunch!” when we walked in. I’m certain the gentleman who seated us is a Gabriel. Our waiter didn’t seem to know that the host had recited the lunch special and repeated it to us with the exception of changing the “bed of Cajun rice” to “rice pilaf.” Somehow I can’t help but thinking the first guy got it right when he said Cajun rice.

The lunch special today was beef stroganoff served, as stated above, on a bed of Cajun rice instead of noodles. It was made with beef tenderloin and succulent mushrooms in a thick brown sauce and served generously on a platter with the spicy, aforementioned, rice. It was quite good and I can recommend that you try it if it comes up again.

We also tried the fried shrimp dinner which consisted of some very nice, butterflied and hand breaded shrimp served with a tangy cocktail sauce, crab boil spiced corn on the cob and some of the best new potatoes I have ever tasted in my life. Topped off with a loaf of French bread with butter and a couple of glasses of sweet iced tea, and now I’m ready for a nap.

Moderately priced, I got out with tax and tip for a little under $11.00.

Looking over the menu, you can still get po’ boys – shrimp, oyster and catfish. I’m certain they’re good if they still use the same recipes as they did in the past. The appetizers sound great with crab fingers, oysters Gabriel, topless fresh oysters – freshly shucked, and Bogaloosa Cajun wings that sound good enough to make you beg.

I also want to go back and try some of their specialties like their Shrimp New Orleans and the blackened catfish.

All in all, a good experience despite our waiter’s inexperience. Maybe by the time you get there he’ll have the cash register down pat…

7412 North Hills Blvd.
North Little Rock, AR 72116

Update Spring of 2007 - I took my sister and her family here thinking it would be a special treat for out-of-towners. It wasn't. The food was overcooked and oversalted. The family was nice about it and said they loved it and perhaps they did, but I was a little embarrassed by the experience.

UPDATE FALL 2007 Closed! It's dead, Jim...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kabab & Curry - by Bob Joe

Score: a happy 8 out of 10.

Kabab & Curry is a small restaurant, but it’s anything but small when it comes to the taste and smell. And you might need a big stomach to go eat their lunch buffet because you might not be able to stop eating.

Well, at least I couldn’t stop before I hogged down three plates of delightfully spiced chicken, veggies, and bread.

Two wonderful highlights:

b) Naan, which is a flat baked bread sprinkled with olive oil, sometimes spices, and chopped cilantro (in case you were wondering, it is kind of like a hand made pizza without the topping!);

a) Bindi Masala Stir Fry, which is stir fried okra with onions and tomatoes. Honestly, I was at first going to skip this weird looking dish until my friend Joe Bob pointed out that it’s good. And I tried, and he was right! For some good reason, the okra in this dish was at all without the sliminess—which I believe many of us hate—and it is spiced just right so that you could taste the wonderful warm mixture of the veggies and seasoning, but not completely overwhelmed by either one. Very nicely done. Two thumbs up.

Although I have to say I wasn't completely impressed by the rice dishes. For my taste, they are a bit too dry and loose, baybe a bit too heavily spiced.

My friend Joe Bob says the Indian people’s probably got the most spices in the world, some of which you’ve never even heard of; and the most combinations of these spices, some of which you’ve never even dreamed of using. I think he’s got a point here. They sure don’t hesitate to spice things up a little!

Kabab & Curry

11121 N. Rodney Parham Rd, Suite #36 B, Little Rock, AR 72212

I have long enjoyed Indian food, going back to the seventies when my sister married a man from India and the wonderful spices and dishes at the wedding reception hooked me. For years now, there was really only one local option when it came to Indian food and that is the Star of India restaurant off of Shackleford in Little Rock.

One has to figure that the food there is hard to improve on, and Mr. Sammy is known for his hospitality (and remembering your name.)

But the Kabab & Curry restaurant in the Market Place Center takes Indian cuisine to a higher level. At lunch it is a buffet, but as buffets go, this one is fresh and well tended.

I started with the nan, which is the tandoori baked flat bread with olive oil that is so crisp and delightful you keep going back for more (particularly good if you dab it in the hot mint leaf chutney). And around it, I added a small dollop of everything else to give it all a try.
The tandoori chicken was exactly what you would expect, but there was, I think, a dish called masala chicken that was spiced differently than anything I’ve ever tasted. It was tender and juicy and really wonderful.

Highly recommended, also, is the cabbage stir fry. But the one dish just stunned me was the Bhendi Masala. This is a stir fried okra dish that was beyond description. Perfectly cooked sections of okra in a heavenly concoction of spices. I found myself getting seconds and thirds.

I finished off with a helping of kheer (rice pudding) and gajar halwa (carrot) and would recommend either or both (as in my case) as being sweet and flavorful desserts.

Final Thoughts? Mr. Sammy, I’m sorry. I’ve enjoyed your restaurant immensely, but I think I found a better Indian restaurant.

Don’t hesitate to try Kabab and Curry. For directions or more information, call 501-978-8920, or email kababncurry@yahoo.com

June 2007 UPDATE Recently tried this place again and was sorely disappointed. The food had been sitting a long time on the steam tables and was not as good as I remembered from the time before. It was peak lunch hour and we were the only ones there. Appears to be well in the process of floating to the top of the tank.