Whether you’re rushing from one meeting to the next, running late to work, or just don’t feel like sitting around a restaurant for a drawn-out meal, Kebab Express has you covered.
As is self-evident in the name, the hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean-style restaurant serves kebabs (along with chicken-packed gyros, curry fries, and heaping falafel plates), and doesn’t waste any time in doing so.
Upon ordering the falafel lunch special, the soft-spoken but kind chef mumbled, “Five minutes, your food will be ready,”and quickly got to work. He first pulled out a handful of pita bread slices to be lightly toasted, then scooped out five large balls of cilantro-seasoned ground chickpeas for frying, and assembled a small salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, tossed in a light vinegar dressing.
Once the pita was toasted and the falafel was fried, the chef put everything in its right place inside of a plastic to-go container —the only plating available at the tiny restaurant —and was sure to include a generous serving of creamy hummus.
Though I opted to eat at one of the narrow tables inside the restaurant, it’s easy to see how this meal would be perfect to take on the run. Dip a falafel in the hummus and pop it in your mouth while driving and you could easily finish the entire meal over the course of a quick commute. Of course, all attention should be devoted to the driving.
The expediency with which everything is prepared at Kebab Express might come at the cost of quality, however. The falafels were perfectly crispy on the outside, but the inside was a little too dry. It’s a good thing that the hummus was so creamy and light —it made the perfect counter to the falafel, which would have otherwise left me parched. Even so, I found that I quickly used all of the hummus to compensate for the dryness of the fried chickpea dish.
Their super chicken gyro, however, might be a better treat for the busy patron. Easy to eat with one hand, the pita is packed with a generous amount of flavorful ground meat, tomato, and sauce. If you like your food on the spicier side, the chefs behind the counter will happily accommodate any order requested “extra spicy,”though be warned that they take this request seriously.
A meal at Kebab Express is just about everything it should be. The food comes out fast, is perfectly tasty, and the chefs are even moderately friendly. If you order the falafel lunch special, however, you might want to order an extra serving of hummus.
13350 San Pablo Avenue, San Pablo
Sunday - Saturday: 11 am to 9 pm
View their Yelp page here.