2256 South Hamilton Rd
Mecca started out as a grocery store and purveyor of halal meat. When the latest owner took over the store, he decided to put a kitchen together and offer Pakistani food. In his own words,” I have meat and groceries in here, why not cook some food and offer take out.”
As you walk into Mecca Market, you will be greeted by the friendly owner and his staff. They are very helpful and eager to answer any questions about their groceries, halal meat and their menu.
Walking towards the back, you’ll see a meat counter and next to it is the counter where you order your food. Since this is intended to be a take out business, they don’t have a dining area set up in the store. However, if you really want to eat in, there is a card table that will seat about 6 people. Due to the small operation, not everything listed on the menu is available everyday. If you’re not up for simply trying whatever happens to be on offer, it is probably best to call ahead and see what is available.
Pakistani food according to the owner is more intensely spiced than Indian food. But there are a lot of similarities with Northern Indian food because of the shared geographic region and with their use of the tandoor.
First up was the garlic naan. The naan had the perfect texture of being crispy on the outside and slighty chewy on the inside. It could have used a little more garlic but that depends on how much you like garlic. We had also ordered a plain naan as well and the execution of it was just as perfect as the garlic one. Plastic silverware was offered to us but we decided to use the naan and our hands for utensils.
We ordered a serving of tandoori chicken and batair. Batair is quail and it is a very popular fowl eaten in Pakistan. This is something that is not usually offered in Indian restaurants. If you see Batair on the menu, then you are likely in the hands of a Pakistani chef. Flavor wise, both birds were phenomenal. Intensely spiced and had the right amount of charring. The quail was definitely more tender of the two. It’s hard to say what quail taste like as the spices definitely overpowered the taste of the meat. However you can tell the difference by the texture. We will be ordering it again next time.
Next up was the goat curry. This was surprisingly not spicy and mild with curry spices. Overall it was very savory and went well with the naan bread which we used to sop up the curry sauce.
We ordered the briyani of the day which was the chicken briyani. The staff explained that briyanis takes a while to cook so they pick a different meat each day to make a pot of briyani instead of offering 3-4 types of briyanis a day. They are happy to take custom orders if you call in the morning for a pick up later in the day. The briyani was very fragrant with a deluge of spices such as cardamon, cinnamon, cumin, cloves and etc. The rice was perfectly tender and the chicken was nicely integrated with the dish absorbing all the spices and liquid that the rice was cooking in.
Lunch for 3 with two drinks came up to $20. Most dishes range from $5 – $10. There are a few vegetarian offerings like palak paneer and couple of aloo dishes. Best advice is to call ahead and check what dishes they are offering for the day or call ahead for a custom order. The people at Mecca are very accommodating and will cater and deliver their food for a function/party.
that bread looks amazing
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Two Columbus restaurants are closed for at least three days for food-safety violations.
By Misti Crane
The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday March 13, 2012 2:29 PM
The city’s Board of Health voted to close Lotus Leaf, 1595 Georgesville Square Dr., and Mecca Market & Grill, 2256 S. Hamilton Rd.
Once they reopen, both will face at least four months of frequent inspections.
According to the board, problems at Lotus Leaf on the last several inspections included foods that were kept at unsafe temperatures, a lack of food-safety knowledge and insufficient hand washing.
On March 5 — the most recent inspection — city employees found four violations, three of which are considered critical.
The restaurant changed ownership at the end of last year and the new owner is working hard to meet food-safety standards, said his friend, Moe Hasan, who spoke on his behalf yesterday.
“Closing this business is hurtful to employees,” Hasan told the board.
If they were to inspect today, “There is not even a single problem, not a single violation that you’d come up with,” he said.
Board member Martin Seltzer said that the multiple violations on multiple inspections warranted the closure.
Mecca Market & Grill, which sells groceries and take-out food, was closed for violations including refrigerated food being kept too warm and not discarding unsafe food.
Owner Tariq Chaudhry said he has worked to fix all the problems inspectors have found over the past several months. He said he hired someone to repair his refrigerator and thought it was keeping foods cold enough.
Chaudhry said he also said some of the problems were based on ethnic, imported foods that he sells that aren’t labeled like items made in this country. The safety of imported foods is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the agency shouldn’t allow anything in that is unsafe, he said.
“We go through proper channels and proper sources,” Chaudhry said.
Mecca market passed a follow up inspection on 4/12/12 and had no critical violations. http://www.decadeonline.com/main.phtml?agency=COL