New restaurant impresses with food choices

Chopped Halal Grill opened on June 1 at Northside, offering an array of tasty mediteranean food and an attractive atmosphere. Photo by Saher Aqeel | Photo Editor.

Chopped Halal Grill, serving Mediterranean fare, is now the newest restaurant to open its doors at Northside. The New York style eatery is attractive in its atmosphere and variety of options, but not so much in its final presentation and cost.

The first thing that stood out was the attentive customer service. When a customer entered the restaurant, they were greeted and the server asked if they had eaten there before, seeing as it’s a new location. The employees explained how to order and clarified the menu. They also asked all of the patrons who dined in for feedback about their meal and created a friendly environment for customers, which improved the experience.

My order of a falafel pita sandwich was made fresh and quickly in front of me, including the pita bread itself. This immediately set Chopped apart from similar food chains in the area who use pre made pita bread for their gyros and sandwiches. It was definitively the best and freshest falafel pita sandwich I have ever had. They also had several topping choices and two house-made sauce choices as well, to top off any customized sandwich or bowl.

The variety of entrees was appreciated and could fulfill any food craving. All three entree “styles,” consisting of pita sandwiches, rice bowls and salad bowls, included the choice of vegan falafel instead of halal chicken or kofta beef, and the toppings also included a wide variety of vegetables. As a vegetarian, I noticed that Chopped was relatively more vegetarian and vegan friendly than other restaurant choices on and around campus.

I couldn’t try the meat options myself, so a friend of mine accompanied me and tried the rice bowl platter with kofta. My companion said the meat was cooked well and flavorful. The portions of rice, meat and toppings were generous, and the servers even added more if a patron asked.

The atmosphere was very bright and natural, with live plants adorning the tables. It looks charming from the outside and even more so on the inside. It wasn’t very busy, likely because it’s summer, Northside doesn’t receive as much traffic and a majority of customers ordered to-go. In the background, a Lionel Richie album played on the speakers, but the tracks sounded broken, ruining the calm element.

They served both the to-go and dine-in bowl entrees in compostable containers, which is a bonus for the environment and for the street-food vibe they were promoting. However, their pita sandwich was just served in foil on a tray, which wasn’t an eye-catching presentation.

Their prices were reasonable considering the portion sizes, but between $6.99 and $8.99 for a base entree can add up for college students. If you don’t have time to dine-in or order to-go and wait for food, Chopped offers their own app to order ahead, as well as a delivery service.

Overall, Chopped Halal Grill offers a variety of options, all delicious and authentic, to satisfy a hungry customer. The lively atmosphere makes the halal joint a prime location to share a bite with friends or relax with house-made food and desserts. Since they just opened, they may still be working on their presentation, but the cuisine is the main attraction and the restaurant perfected it.

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