Kabab Factory

Manhattan, New York City

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Image for Cass Danger

rating star

This neighborhood has tons of vegetarian and veg-friendly Indian joints, but most are sit-down restaurants that are big on their buffets. I was walking around, looking for something quick that could be eaten on the go so Kabob Factory seemed perfect. They had a sign outside that said they have vegetarian food, and I loved that the menu had "vegetarian" and "non-vegetarian" items, versus "vegetarian" and "normal", which is just insulting.

The cook confirmed that I'm a "pure vegetarian", which apparently is what they call somebody who eats no meat, and he confirmed that no ghee or dairy was in what I was ordering. I couldn't decide between the potato and the spinach kathi rolls, so he put both into the roll. I asked for hot sauce, which he said they don't have, which I found weird. Indian food can get HOT, so it was odd that he suggested I stop at McDonalds to pick up hot sauce.

I was really happy with my find until I saw that he was cooking my veggies like 4 inches from someone's chicken tikki masala. He was using the same utensils on both of them and I could see the red sauce from the chicken getting on my veggies. I asked why they don't separate the food and use different utensils and he assured me that wasn't my food and that they take special caution to not mix anything. 1 minute later, he scooped of the same veggies I was looking at, rolled them up, and gave it to me. I questioned this and we had a bit of a discussion, and he assured me that many vegetarians eat there and that no meat gets onto the veggies. I disagreed because I saw him cooking.

This was a huge turn off for this restaurant and I don't want to go back, but as I have never been in the kitchen of non-vegetarian Indian restaurants, this may be what is done in every kitchen, Kabob Factory just has their kitchen in open view so you see it. Next time, I'll opt for one of the all-veg Indian spots around there (like Madras Mahal or Chennai Garden), but not Tiffin Wallah, that steals all the waiters tips.

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