Pita Star and The Curry and Kebab Grill – Vancouver, BC


Pita Star
146 East 3rd Ave
Vancouver, BC
Tel: 604-874-1524

Pita Star on Urbanspoon

I love getting tips about great places to eat…especially holes-in-the-wall. So when a friend called me the other day and said that he had a tip about a new Indian place from a reliable source, we jumped at the chance to try it out. The tip came from a friend of Indian descent, so this place must be solid…or so we thought. As it turns out, it was a food counter that is being run within Pita Star, a place I used to frequent when they served some of the best falafels in the city.

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Pita Star is a storefront for a small-sized family run pita baking operation. You can get their bread at various grocery stores and supermarkets around town. I have purchased pita and Falafel sandwiches from here on in the past (I then make another stop at Swiss Bakery which is right across the street). I hadn’t been here in a while because they closed their storefront and focused on their wholesale business. It looks like that has changed.

A secondary operation called The Curry and Kebab Grill has taken over the food bar in front. (They also sell frozen Indian meals to go…which is interesting). We had a quick read of the chalkboard menu suspended over the counter. They have Curry and Rice specials for $5 and an assortment of Indian dishes.

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We ordered a Butter Chicken and their Platter Combo 1. The Butter Chicken was…well…disappointing. It had the familiar neon-orange sauce found in food court-grade Butter Chicken. The sauce was much too sweet and lacked complexity.  The meat was very dry and flavourless…they had used chicken breast (probably a bulk Costco pack of boneless and skinless breast).

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The Combo Platter was a selection of deep fried items which included Beef Kebab, Mogo (cassava), Nylon Bhajia (dollar potatoes) and Samosa. It also included a triplet of dipping sauces –  Tamarind, Coconut-Cilantro Chutney, and Green Chili Chutney.

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The Samosa, Nylon Bhajia and Mogo were decent – fresh tasting and not at all oily despite being deep-fried. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. The Kebab tasted pre-fried, stale and dry.

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My lunch companion picked up a frozen curry meal to go. He reported later that it was “decent.” It was packed into a vacuum sealed microwavable segmented container  resembling a TV dinner (remember those?)

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Clearly, I had my expectations set too high. Perhaps if I wasn’t so picky, I would probably enjoy this food. This area which is at the edge of a light-industrial zone is a little thin of good eating (the truly amazing Argo Cafe is just around the corner, however) so this cafeteria probably fills the bill for many people working within walking distance.

A tip like the one I had most often leads to hidden gems…not this time, unfortunately…not for me anyway.

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Pita Star on Urbanspoon

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11 thoughts on “Pita Star and The Curry and Kebab Grill – Vancouver, BC

  1. As dull as butter chicken is, there are times at some buffets where I do indulge in it (always interesting how its always the largest vat on the table), but to have chicken breast meat instead of thigh, that is really disappointing to see. I had to laugh at the reference to TV dinners – yes, I recall those, a salisbury steak one comes top of mind to me – as in my recent forays sampling bubble teas, I remarked about the existence of this “sealing technology”, and forgot that its also used in some food places. For takeout, I see it has value, as you don’t have to worry about any spillage in a bag on the walk/drive home with it.

  2. Gastronomydomine, thanks for this post; I guess this will not be a place I will be visiting anytime soon… Now, is it me or you guys have been intentionally putting yourselves in harm’s way? Yesterday shokutsu took the bullet and today you walked into a landmine!

  3. KH – i gues that means im next!!

    Gastro – i was hoping for you when i read your first few sentences!! Ah well, just means we have to appreciate the true hole in the walls even more.

    Never even heard of the Argo cafe – perhaps a great potential review? 🙂

  4. It might be a silly question, but I always hear about Vij’s Rangoli frozen meals so that’s what I thought about when you mentioned this place offered a similar thing; do you think it’s just a matter of time before other Indian restaurants in Van start doing this?

    I agree about not using breast meat in butter chicken. Thigh meat FTW.

  5. >> It might be a silly question, but I always hear about Vij’s Rangoli frozen meals so that’s what I thought about when you mentioned this place offered a similar thing; do you think it’s just a matter of time before other Indian restaurants in Van start doing this?

    A few of them already do. I don’t think Rangoli started the trend – they just took it to another level (good branding and graphic design, unique fusion cuisine, — overall all good execution of the basic idea).

    There is one (newish) place that I’ve set my sights on for this blog called Heavenly Bites on Hastings St in Burnaby (not that far from my East Van home) that sells frozen meals, tiffins, etc. I’ve popped in to check the menu but have yet to dine there. I hope to report on it soon enough.

    I think with the economy the way it is, this would be a great way for restaurants to generate some revenue.

  6. >> Never even heard of the Argo cafe – perhaps a great potential review? 🙂

    Ahhh…I will report on it here then. The Argo is a real gem. Imagine a diner with a truckstop atmosphere serving items like braised lamb shanks, steak au poivre, roast duck, etc….but with sauteed Chinese vegetables as sides. Then imagine paying under $10 for your meal. Crazy, unique place.

  7. >>Did I heard right that they are also allegedly supposed to whip up a pretty mean hamburger too?

    Yes indeed. They use fresh hand-formed patties (the last time I had it, anyway). Good fries too. Clean frying oil, etc. Check it out and post about it here!

  8. >gastronomydomine
    Good to know the rumor wasn’t false. I’ll leave it up to your capable hands of reviewing this place when the time comes, as you’re more familiar with it and that place is pretty far east for me to make the monetary value worth it after the drive (darn the rising price of gas again in this city!)…

  9. Thanks for taking the bullet.

    I noticed this place since going to the Swiss bakery on a regular basis for their walnut cranberry loaf and wondered if it was any good.

    I love indian food, but it has to be at least decent in order for me to check it out. It sounded like it’s wiser to pass on this one.

    Would love to see a review on the Argo. It sounds interesting.

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