Halal Bros Brings Authentic Flavor to Austin

Mary Miller, Executive Editor

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Since its grand opening in 2010, Halal Bros has focused on serving the finest Middle Eastern food that Austin has to offer. The restaurant has something for everyone, serving vegan and vegetarian dishes as well as their signature wraps and rice plates. From a food truck on Seventh St. to several brick and mortar locations, Halal Bros hopes to expand their influence with their newest location near Anderson Mill Road.

The interior of the restaurant combines modern flair with traditional elements, creating a unique surrounding that customers will be sure to remember. There is a stark contrast between the gray paint and long red stripe that outlines the walls near the ceiling, and a large tree decal with winding roots draws customers’ eyes as soon as they enter. Ample seating was provided in the form of red metal chairs and black benches, and customers could also choose to sit outdoors at a high table. When I arrived, the restaurant had a few families sitting inside, and eventually filled to about halfway full towards peak lunch time. There was no wait time and my server was very friendly, proving to be a helpful resource when I was trying to decide between the Beef Kebab and Beef Shawarma. Music from the American Teen album by Khalid played over the loudspeaker, contributing to the calming ambience.

When ordering, I decided to try a range of dishes in order to get the best idea of what Halal had to offer. I ended up with the Beef Kebab Over Rice, the Chicken Wrap, a side of hummus and pita bread, and two orders of falafel. My total came out to $29.57, with the most expensive item being the Beef Kebab. The food took a while to arrive at our table, but the wait wasn’t long enough to cause any frustration. The first dish that I tried was the Chicken Wrap, with marinated chicken, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber all wrapped in pita bread and served with sides of white and hot sauce. When the wrap was initially carried out, I couldn’t help but notice that its contents were spilling over into the basket, which resulted  in me having to eat much of the dish as if it were a salad. Also, while the majority of the wrap was delicious, the chicken had a bland taste that was hard to get past. In the end, I found myself covering the wrap in sauce in order to add more flavor.

Next, I sampled the the side order of hummus and pita bread, which came out at the same time as the rest of the food, despite being listed as an appetizer. The hummus comes topped with a layer of olive oil about half an inch thick, along with spices and cilantro. I really enjoyed the combination of textures that the olive oil created, and found myself reaching for the hummus time and time again even after I had finished my meal. The pita bread also proved to be a winner, achieving a thickness that was well suited for both dipping in hummus and being used in a wrap. Both of these items exceeded my expectations, and I would recommend them to all customers.

The side orders of falafel came with four pieces each, served over a bed of lettuce and topped off with a dollop of hummus. The falafel itself was made up of deep fried garbanzo beans, mixed vegetables, and spices. The inside was not quite as moist as I would have liked, but the powerful flavor and firmness more than made up for that, and any lost moisture could be brought back by dipping the falafel in white sauce. If you are looking for a full meal, I would order this as a wrap or over rice, but if you are just wanting a quick snack or side, then this portion size is ideal.

The final item that I tried was the Beef Kebab Over Rice, composed of marinated beef cubes, slowly roasted and placed on top of spiced Basmati rice and a side salad. This was my favorite item on the menu, with the tender beef doing a complete 180 from the lackluster chicken. The meat was juicy and spiced to perfection, sliced into chunks that were just the right size. The rice had a fusion of spice and floral notes, and a fluffy texture was achieved through the use of long, non-sticky grains which allowed the seasoning to seep through and create an explosion of flavor. When served warm it seems to melt in your mouth, serving as the perfect complement for the more chewy meat. The side salad contained pickles, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and pickled onions, and was sufficient on its own but was really taken to the next level when mixed with the rice and meat. Whether you choose to enjoy each element individually or all at once, this dish is definitely the one to try.

Overall, Halal Bros is just what Plaza Volente needs, and is doing a great job of filling the gap left with the recent closing of a similar chain, Verts Mediterranean Grill. I would recommend Halal Bros to food lovers of all ages, and will be back myself to pick up more of their falafel and beef plates sometime soon.

Rating: four out of five stars

Halal Bros

11521 N FM 620 Suite 1300 | Austin, Texas

(512) 580-0879

Monday – Sunday    11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

http://www.thehalalbros.com/