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Al Bawadi Grill - Niles [opening early 2020]

Al Bawadi Grill - Niles [opening early 2020]
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  • Al Bawadi Grill - Niles [opening early 2020]

    Post #1 - January 25th, 2020, 12:08 pm
    Post #1 - January 25th, 2020, 12:08 pm Post #1 - January 25th, 2020, 12:08 pm
    The Al Bawadi website has removed 'opening soon' from the Niles address.

    Anybody driving around Dempster and Greenwood today?

    Giovanna

    8501 W Dempster St
    Niles, IL 60714
    (847) 957-1999
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #2 - January 25th, 2020, 12:23 pm
    Post #2 - January 25th, 2020, 12:23 pm Post #2 - January 25th, 2020, 12:23 pm
    Giovanna wrote:The Al Bawadi website has removed 'opening soon' from the Niles address.

    Anybody driving around Dempster and Greenwood today?

    Giovanna

    Supposed to be open on Monday.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #3 - January 27th, 2020, 12:53 pm
    Post #3 - January 27th, 2020, 12:53 pm Post #3 - January 27th, 2020, 12:53 pm
    It’s open. Confirmed by my recent drive by along with the Now Open banner in front of the building.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #4 - February 2nd, 2020, 1:37 pm
    Post #4 - February 2nd, 2020, 1:37 pm Post #4 - February 2nd, 2020, 1:37 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    I attempted to make a reservation for Sunday, but was advised they are not yet taking reservations. Walk-ins only ... whoever gets there first, we are a party of seven (Mom is #7 and it is 50-50 she will agree to go).

    At their location on the south side, they had a table with curtains styled in such a way it felt like you were in a nomadic tent in the dessert. If they have a table dressed like that available, that is a preference.

    [...]

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    Was there for dinner with labmom53 last night. I believe they had staff present from the original Al Bawadi to help things go relatively smoothly for only having been open a week. It was quite crowded, though, with a wait for multi-person parties so I hope you have good "Superbowl" luck in that respect! FWIW, a kitchen area near the entrance is windowed and visible to guests while they're waiting to be seated.

    But fortunately for us, a 2-top was open and we were seated immediately; unfortunately, the smallish size of the table made it a real challenge to manage the crowd on the table itself: gratis plate of pickles+eggplant salad+dipping crisps, a basket of warm pita, water pitcher & glasses, mint tea glass, mint lemonade mug, two service plates, a cold appetizer platter, side plate of yogurt dip, side bowl of tabbouleh salad, side bowl of kibbeh, and (underneath them in various spots) random piles of square paper cocktail napkins that were eventually augmented by a couple of cloth napkins provided when we explicitly asked for previously-absent flatware. We'd also ordered the Al Bawadi Mixed Grill entree to share, but by the time we'd been served all the prior dishes, we realized we'd over-ordered and asked for that platter to be boxed for take-out without even seeing it beforehand.

    Overall, the food was definitely up-to-snuff and equivalent with the Bridgeview location's offering in quality and quantity.

    The room is quite colorfully appointed with pictures and wall hangings plus an electric "fireplace," though (sorry, Cathy!) I didn't notice any tented seating arrangements. Further, the atmosphere was augmented visually with costumed service staff, including an itinerant coffee-pourer outfitted with a leather ammo belt and (presumably fake) sidearm in a holster. Background music was fairly spirited, Arabic and generously accented with ululations, but at a somewhat less-than-sportsbar volume permitting conversations without needing actual yelling.

    We enjoyed the experience and will likely be back. Hope yours is good as well.

    --Matt
    "If I have dined better than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants...and got the waiter's attention." --Sir Isaac "Ready to order NOW" Newton

    "You worry too much. Eat some bacon... What? No, I got no idea if it'll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon." --Justin Halpern's dad
  • Post #5 - February 4th, 2020, 6:18 pm
    Post #5 - February 4th, 2020, 6:18 pm Post #5 - February 4th, 2020, 6:18 pm
    I've always loved the food from their Bridgeview location but if I'm being honest, a recent lunch in Niles was mostly disappointing. Because this location is so close to my office, I'm hopeful that all they need is some more time to get their feet under them. One barometer is that they were out of hot sauce before noon, which really seems unthinkable but indicates that operations are far from firing on all cylinders. There were definitely some tasty bites but the meal peaked early and became less enjoyable as it went along . . .

    Image
    Al Bawadi Grill - 8501 Dempster, Niles

    Image
    Pita Chips w/Za'atar, Pickles and Smoky Eggplant
    This gratis plate was actually a highlight, with bold, bright flavors and textures varying from crispy to crunchy to soft.

    Image
    Freshly Baked Pita

    Image
    Pita Bakery
    They can't get any fresher than this!

    Image
    Falafil
    Fried hard with a beautifully crunchy exterior and a tender, flavorful interior.

    Image
    Hummus With Meat
    Probably the best item we had. The hummus was super creamy and had great flavor, balanced nicely between rich and acidic. The meat was a tad overcooked but still accentuated the hummus really well.

    Image
    Kibbeh
    These were as well cooked as the falafil but there was a strong, faintly-sweet flavor note present that I'd never encountered before. I found it distracting and didn't really care for it.

    Image
    Kufta Kabab Entree
    Decent flavor on the kufta but it was pretty darned dry. I didn't care for either the red rice or the yellow rice.

    Image
    Chicken Shish Tawook Entree
    I should have read the menu more carefully because if I'd known this was breast, not dark meat, I wouldn't have ordered it. I'd never had tawook before that wasn't dark meat, so admittedly, I was caught off guard. This was as dry as could be expected, was really disappointing and went mostly uneaten. I realize that it's not a straight line comparison but the Shish Tawook at Kabobi (Persian) is so glorious, it's in another universe, relative to this.

    Again, this is very close to my office, so I'm sure I'll be back soon. I'm confident that they'll get it ironed out before too long. In the meantime, I'm not taking Pita Inn out of the lunch rotation any time soon.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #6 - February 4th, 2020, 7:52 pm
    Post #6 - February 4th, 2020, 7:52 pm Post #6 - February 4th, 2020, 7:52 pm
    How crowded was it at lunchtime? Any visible sidearms?
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #7 - February 4th, 2020, 8:25 pm
    Post #7 - February 4th, 2020, 8:25 pm Post #7 - February 4th, 2020, 8:25 pm
    Dave148 wrote:How crowded was it at lunchtime? Any visible sidearms?

    Arrived at 11:45 and left at 1:00. During that time, it went from empty to maybe a little more than half full.

    Yes, the Yasser Arafat impersonator was there serving tea, sidearm in holster. Neither this nor the other staff in costumes did anything to enhance my dining experience.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #8 - February 4th, 2020, 8:31 pm
    Post #8 - February 4th, 2020, 8:31 pm Post #8 - February 4th, 2020, 8:31 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I've always loved the food from their Bridgeview location but if I'm being honest, a recent lunch in Niles was mostly disappointing. Because this location is so close to my office, I'm hopeful that all they need is some more time to get their feet under them. One barometer is that they were out of hot sauce before noon, which really seems unthinkable but indicates that operations are far from firing on all cylinders. There were definitely some tasty bites but the meal peaked early and became less enjoyable as it went along . . .

    Image
    Al Bawadi Grill - 8501 Dempster, Niles

    Image
    Pita Chips w/Za'atar, Pickles and Smoky Eggplant
    This gratis plate was actually a highlight, with bold, bright flavors and textures varying from crispy to crunchy to soft.

    Image
    Freshly Baked Pita

    Image
    Pita Bakery
    They can't get any fresher than this!

    Image
    Falafil
    Fried hard with a beautifully crunchy exterior and a tender, flavorful interior.

    Image
    Hummus With Meat
    Probably the best item we had. The hummus was super creamy and had great flavor, balanced nicely between rich and acidic. The meat was a tad overcooked but still accentuated the hummus really well.

    Image
    Kibbeh
    These were as well cooked as the falafil but there was a strong, faintly-sweet flavor note present that I'd never encountered before. I found it distracting and didn't really care for it.

    Image
    Kufta Kabab Entree
    Decent flavor on the kufta but it was pretty darned dry. I didn't care for either the red rice or the yellow rice.

    Image
    Chicken Shish Tawook Entree
    I should have read the menu more carefully because if I'd known this was breast, not dark meat, I wouldn't have ordered it. I'd never had tawook before that wasn't dark meat, so admittedly, I was caught off guard. This was as dry as could be expected, was really disappointing and went mostly uneaten. I realize that it's not a straight line comparison but the Shish Tawook at Kabobi (Persian) is so glorious, it's in another universe, relative to this.

    Again, this is very close to my office, so I'm sure I'll be back soon. I'm confident that they'll get it ironed out before too long. In the meantime, I'm not taking Pita Inn out of the lunch rotation any time soon.

    =R=


    Not sure if I’m alone on this but I love Al Bawadi Bridgeview and never, ever liked their grilled meat entrees. Since my first couple of times there, I learned to stick to apps & salads. The only exception is the chicken schwarma, which isn’t the best out there, but is perfectly fine if you want something with protein besides hummus.

    But their muthuwama (my favorite version in the C-land area), stuffed grape leaves, eggplant with tomatoes, babaganoush, fresh baked pita, falafal and tabouli are some of my favorite versions anywhere. I can make a fully delicious meal out of those options, and never miss the meat!

    So your report on the Niles location sounds like business as usual to me, fwiw.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #9 - February 4th, 2020, 11:22 pm
    Post #9 - February 4th, 2020, 11:22 pm Post #9 - February 4th, 2020, 11:22 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:Not sure if I’m alone on this but I love Al Bawadi Bridgeview and never, ever liked their grilled meat entrees. Since my first couple of times there, I learned to stick to apps & salads. The only exception is the chicken schwarma, which isn’t the best out there, but is perfectly fine if you want something with protein besides hummus.

    But their muthuwama (my favorite version in the C-land area), stuffed grape leaves, eggplant with tomatoes, babaganoush, fresh baked pita, falafal and tabouli are some of my favorite versions anywhere. I can make a fully delicious meal out of those options, and never miss the meat!

    So your report on the Niles location sounds like business as usual to me, fwiw.

    I think that about sums it up (not only about Al Bawadi but the category in general) but the meats were even worse than I remembered them. But you're right. A great meal -- featuring the best items Al Bawadi has to offer -- can be had here without having to order any meat at all.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #10 - February 5th, 2020, 10:18 am
    Post #10 - February 5th, 2020, 10:18 am Post #10 - February 5th, 2020, 10:18 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Chicken Shish Tawook Entree
    I should have read the menu more carefully because if I'd known this was breast, not dark meat, I wouldn't have ordered it. I'd never had tawook before that wasn't dark meat, so admittedly, I was caught off guard. This was as dry as could be expected, was really disappointing and went mostly uneaten. I realize that it's not a straight line comparison but the Shish Tawook at Kabobi (Persian) is so glorious, it's in another universe, relative to this.
    Larsa's chicken kabobs (not the ground "kifta" version) are breast meat. But they tell you so on the menu, which may be why you haven't ordered them. They aren't dry, fwiw.
  • Post #11 - February 5th, 2020, 10:37 am
    Post #11 - February 5th, 2020, 10:37 am Post #11 - February 5th, 2020, 10:37 am
    bweiny wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Chicken Shish Tawook Entree
    I should have read the menu more carefully because if I'd known this was breast, not dark meat, I wouldn't have ordered it. I'd never had tawook before that wasn't dark meat, so admittedly, I was caught off guard. This was as dry as could be expected, was really disappointing and went mostly uneaten. I realize that it's not a straight line comparison but the Shish Tawook at Kabobi (Persian) is so glorious, it's in another universe, relative to this.
    Larsa's chicken kabobs (not the ground "kifta" version) are breast meat. But they tell you so on the menu, which may be why you haven't ordered them. They aren't dry, fwiw.

    No, I'd avoid those on principle. Life's too short to eat chicken breast. I'm talking specifically about Shish Tawook, which seems to almost always be whole pieces of thigh, often boned out. Again, this was my own fault. I should have read the menu instead of just assuming.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #12 - February 5th, 2020, 10:59 am
    Post #12 - February 5th, 2020, 10:59 am Post #12 - February 5th, 2020, 10:59 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Life's too short to eat chicken breast. I'm talking specifically about Shish Tawook, which seems to almost always be whole pieces of thigh, often boned out. Again, this was my own fault. I should have read the menu instead of just assuming.
    I see that Kabobi offers breast and Tawook, the only difference being dark meat in the latter. Tawook, and Chicken Boti among Pakistani places, always seem like boneless thighs. I would get dark if Larsa's had it, but since their white meat is very good, rice and sauces great, it hasn't hurt them with me.
  • Post #13 - February 8th, 2020, 6:11 pm
    Post #13 - February 8th, 2020, 6:11 pm Post #13 - February 8th, 2020, 6:11 pm
    I think the fresh-baked pita here is a [non-cliched synonym for “game-changer” TK]. Do they now do that at the original, too? They didn’t before. Anyway, it’s really good.

    The muthawama is the same as always (i.e., great). Grape leaves were good, but unfortunately served straight out of the fridge. The grilled meats were definitely not dry but also definitely not in Kabobi’s league. If you want meat, one of the kufta casseroles may be the way to go (I’d recommend the tomato and tahini sauce combo) — no danger of dryness there.

    The place is still absolutely packed but the service is as efficient and friendly as at the southern location.
  • Post #14 - February 18th, 2020, 2:36 am
    Post #14 - February 18th, 2020, 2:36 am Post #14 - February 18th, 2020, 2:36 am
    cilantro wrote:I think the fresh-baked pita here is a [non-cliched synonym for “game-changer” TK]. Do they now do that at the original, too? They didn’t before. Anyway, it’s really good.

    Agree, Al Bawadi Niles pita is terrific, rotating flame on stones, fresh, hot, great texture, loved it, my favorite part of the meal.
    ABNP13.jpg Al Bawadi Niles Pita oven


    Torshi plate, hummus and falafel tip top, orange/carrot drink drew raves from the bride and shrimp scampi, while tasty, slightly oily, served with terrific rice. A misstep on the ordered salad, received tahini salad, ordered Jeruselem, not a big deal. Slightly bigger deal, orders were being brought to the wrong tables and the occasional server seemed to be walking, plate in hand, in circles. All of which will work itself out in time.

    Packed with no wait at 7pm, families, big groups, owner walking around greeting and putting out brush fires. Coffee soldier with sidearm at the ready plying with caffeine rather than bullets.
    ABNP14.jpg Al Bawadi Niles


    Enjoyable meal, good people watching, terrific pita, will give it few weeks then be back.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - February 18th, 2020, 9:55 am
    Post #15 - February 18th, 2020, 9:55 am Post #15 - February 18th, 2020, 9:55 am
    While it was on my list, I've never made it to Al Bawadi really just due to the distance for the original location. Hope to make it to Niles soon.

    Is that a real gun? How many dudes are packing there? Just the guy with the expensive coffee? Does anyone have any concerns about this?
  • Post #16 - February 18th, 2020, 10:07 am
    Post #16 - February 18th, 2020, 10:07 am Post #16 - February 18th, 2020, 10:07 am
    Al Ehrhardt wrote:Is that a real gun?

    You are joking, right? Of course not, its a prop.

    Al Ehrhardt wrote: How many dudes are packing there?

    Less than in a typical Walmart and none of the employees, certainly not the owner's ten-year-old daughter who was walking around with him

    Al Ehrhardt wrote:Just the guy with the expensive coffee?

    Coffee was free, and he came around 3-4 times.

    Al Ehrhardt wrote:Does anyone have any concerns about this?

    No more than I have concerns about the Jollibee bee or Colonel Sanders.

    Tempest in a teapot or, in this instance, coffee pot.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - February 18th, 2020, 10:22 am
    Post #17 - February 18th, 2020, 10:22 am Post #17 - February 18th, 2020, 10:22 am
    G Wiv wrote:No more than I have concerns about the Jollibee bee or Colonel Sanders.

    LMAO - what about General Mills? I hear he's a real badass! :lol:

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #18 - February 21st, 2020, 8:44 am
    Post #18 - February 21st, 2020, 8:44 am Post #18 - February 21st, 2020, 8:44 am
    Had a wonderful meal there last night - we ordered two mezas and a salad, and it was too much for the two of us (admittedly one was the combo platter). Service is outstanding, food delivered quite quickly, and for early on a Thursday, the joint was pretty full. Coffee soldier was on patrol, nobody mentioned that the little dixie cups contain a week's recommended dose of cardamom.

    Combo Cold Meza
    This is quite a groaning platter, with beautifully garnished hummos and baba ganouj, feta, grape leaves, and falafel. Aside from the garnishes, I'd put the hummos as very similar to that of Pita Inn, long considered my gold standard. The grape leaves were nothing special -- I never like them fridge-cold, room temp would have been a lot better, but you can't hold them that way. Pita Inn is also my measuring stick for falafel, and these compare very favorably: somewhat smaller, but very crisp and light (nobody likes a doughy falafel). The pita they provide is pillowy, more like a naan than a pocket bread, but great for scooping up the spreads.
    Image

    Mediterranean Salad
    Very much what you'd get as a greek salad in your typical diner. Vinaigrette a little sweeter than some, very good peppers, I appreciate the use of grape tomatoes instead of bad winter tomatoes, although stabbing them in a slippery dressing is always a trick.
    Image

    Meat Toshka
    Tasty grilled sandwiches -- the only criticism is that the ground lamb/beef mixture is rather rare. This is a big serving, we took half of this home. Cheese is nicely stretchy, meat very rich.
    Image

    We'll definitely back, and I have no problem driving right past Pita Inn and Plateia to get there.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #19 - February 21st, 2020, 11:26 am
    Post #19 - February 21st, 2020, 11:26 am Post #19 - February 21st, 2020, 11:26 am
    As I suspected, operations are tuning up nicely at ABN. Lunch earlier this week was superior to my first experience in just about every way. And and 2 co-workers ordered a bunch of items, some pictured below, some not.

    Image
    Fried Syrian Cheese
    Really nicely prepared, the cheese was soft and tender and remained that way even after it cooled off. I wouldn't have ordered this but was glad to try it. For my palate, the cheese was a little bland.

    Image
    Baba Ghanouj
    I'm not always a fan of baba but I really like Al Bawadi's take. It's rich, creamy and touched with just the right amount of pleasant smokiness.

    Image
    Hot Sauce
    Yay, hot sauce! One of the more distinctive hot sauces out there. It almost has a coffee-like aroma and it delivers very nice heat. I was glad they had it this time.

    Image
    Falafil
    These crispy-tender, herbaceous nuggets were, once again, really tasty. They seem to be considerably smaller than they were at the previous lunch but we ordered so much food, no one was concerned about it.

    Image
    Kufta Casserole with Tahini and Tomato
    Buried under all the sauce and vegetables was a moist, nicely-grilled patty of kufta. And this time, the rice was flavorful and tender -- just perfect.

    Image
    Meat and Chicken Combination Shawerma Platter
    I warned my companions about the perils of some of the meats at ABN but they ordered them, anyway. Tremendous improvement over the previous visit. This mixed shawerma platter was cooked very nicely. The same can be said for the Mixed Grill Platter (not pictured) in which all the meats (shish kabab, kufta kabab, chicken tawook kabab) were all juicy and moist. Also, the meat in an order of Hummus With Meat (no pic) was really juicy and tasty.

    Service is getting better, too. Everyone is really nice and the little touches continue to get ironed out. I'm glad to have Al Bawadi North so close to our office and I foresee it becoming a regular part of our office lunch rotation.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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