Pandemic Takeout 15: Kabob’s Indian Grill

If you are so deviant as to read this blog on a regular basis then you know that I came across Kabob’s Indian Grill in Bloomington late last year and very quickly pronounced their food the best Indian food I’d yet eaten at a restaurant in Minnesota. This excitement was centered largely on their lunch thalis, with a revolving selection of small bowls of goodness, which are also simultaneously the best lunch deal in Minnesota. I did also like almost everything I ate at a non-thali weekend lunch meal in December. And you’ll get a sense of how much I like their food when I tell you that I chose to eat more of it just a month after returning from a trip home to India—I never wrote that meal—another thali lunch—up before the pandemic hit but it’s covered in this write-up. When the pandemic did hit, Kabob’s closed down rather than go to a takeout-only model. I was very worried that they might not re-open. And so when I was at TBS Mart a few weeks ago for a spot of shopping (they’re just a few doors apart in the same strip mall) I was excited to see that Kabob’s is open again.

You won’t know this if you go to their website, however. As of yesterday, the website still said they’re shut due to the pandemic. I drew their attention to this and they said they were trying to get whoever updates their website to fix it. But they are open and you can find the menu on their website and you can call in an order for takeout (952-888-2779); their website suggests you can order online as well but I don’t think that’s true either and I’m told that is in fact the case. If you’ve seen how small their dining room is you will not be surprised to hear that they are not open for dining in. In fact, you can’t even go in. There’s a table blocking the door where you’ll pick up your food and make your payment (there’s a bell there that you’ll need to ring to get their attention in the kitchen). If you haven’t called ahead there’s also a menu on the table but then you’ll have to wait 15-30 minutes depending on what and how much you order. Best to call ahead. And best to remember that while they do offer most of the familiar North Indian dishes, it’s the Chettinad and Tamil dishes that are their calling card.

What should you get? Well, I’m not sure if they’re currently doing their fabulous lunch thalis to go—they used to in the before times—but if they are, that’s always a safe bet. They don’t do thalis on the weekends though and so I did not even ask when I called on Sunday. Instead I got an order of their Hyderbadi Chicken Biryani (mildly spicy and very good; comes with green chutney and raita); an order of their mutton pepper fry (spicy and very good); and their poondu kulambu, garlic cloves cooked in a hot and sour tamarind gravy (very hot and very good). Rice and parathas to mop it all up. For the boys, tandoori chicken and naan. We rounded off the meal with a home-made moog dal. Generous portions all-around and enough leftovers for a few more meals. For more ideas of things to get, check out my report of lunch with friend in December.

Pictures of all of this are in the slideshow below, as are pictures of my thali lunch there with a friend in early March.

I very much hope that in a few months (or maybe a year) I’ll be able to eat one of their thalis at the restaurant but for now I’m just very glad we can get their food at all. Between them and our recent takeout from Kumar’s Mess, I’m very happy with the state of the South Indian food—speaking generally—available to us in a 30 mile radius (more or less). I very much expect we’ll get more of their food in the next month or so.

Coming up next from the Twin Cities: well. I’m not sure what exactly but I’m sure I’ll have another pandemic takeout review next week. Before that I’ll probably post my last Calcutta meal review this weekend. And probably another recipe as well.

Hope you’re all staying safe, eating well—and eating safely, which is to say eating takeout or home-cooked meals at home.


9 thoughts on “Pandemic Takeout 15: Kabob’s Indian Grill

  1. I really enjoyed finding this place pre-COVID, their style reminds me much of the Singaporean/Malaysian Indian style places I miss from SE Asia. However – when I called 8/21 for lunch thali, they said it’s not available? I ended up with chicken curry, but I really wanted chicken salna (which seems closest to the kari ayam / roti prata set I used to have in SG. Is there another name for this dish?


    • Hmm they used to do takeout thalis in the before times; I’d guess it’s not worth it to make all the components in large quantities these days with no guarantee enough people will order thalis to go.

      Re chicken salna: the “South Indian Specialties” section of their menu lists “Parotta with Chicken Salna”, which I am guessing will be similar to the Malay roti-prata. See the pictures of the menu in my first review of Kabob’s. Given the long history of Bay of Bengal trade and migration it’s not a surprise that the Indian influences in Malay/Singapore cooking come from this part of India.


  2. Their weekend thalis are back! We just had a ginormous take-out order today. Ronaldo pointed to a banana leaf with 10 different things on it. Like Kent, I spent some time in Sngapore, and fondly remember the restaurants that served rice on a banana leaf with a scoop of “your choice” that you ate with your hands. Yum!


  3. Just an update on the thalis: they’re only served on weekends now. I’d been looking forward to trying one since reading your review, and was sad to discover that they no longer serve them on weekdays. I got an excellent goat curry, though:)


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