A Take-Out Treasure – Sinbads

 Dan says…sinbag-outside

A reader suggested we give Sinbad’s a try after reading one of our middle eastern food reviews.  Sinbad’s Pizza is located in the 5000 block of MacCorkle Avenue in Kanawha City across the street from Foodland.  You might think that all they serve is pizza given the name, but they have a good selection of traditional middle eastern treats. Some of you will feel ripped off by this review, because none of the “Fork You Crew” ordered pizza on this visit.  So we have nothing to say about that…at least right now.

Regular readers know that I love Persian food.  I order it whenever I get a chance.  I can remember sitting in the Bike playing poker and ordering up a plate of yogurt marinated chicken, hummus and flat bread then remarking out loud that “this is good!” The player next to me (of middle eastern descent) responded rather matter of fact, “of course it is. It’s Persian food.”  What I like about it is the simplicity of the flavors. Mild spices and lemon enhance the main ingredient without over powering it.


Falafel Sandwich

I am trying to become a falafel connoisseur by trying it every chance I get. Unfortunately I need to learn how to pronounce it correctly or I’m going to get served something I don’t want to eat.  In that vein, I ordered a falafel sandwich for $4.99.  I supplemented my sandwich with an antipasto salad for $3.99, but that was unnecessary since the sandwich was quite filling.  The 4-5 falafel balls are place in flat bread with lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki (cucumber sauce).  The falafel had a nutty flavor of roasted sesame seeds. They were softer than the ones I have had before. So far the best falafel I have eaten is in Reading Market in Philadelphia.

The antipasto salad was nothing special.  Everything was fresh and the dressing is homemade, but I was distracted by the pizza toppings.  The salad was topped with pepperoni, diced ham (water added) and mozzarella cheese. If you’re OK with that you’ll be filled, because this small portion is huge.


Antipasto Salad

I should tell you that Sinbad’s is a hole in the wall.  There is no place to sit.  Everything is served to-go. If you crave a quick bite of Middle Eastern cuisine stop by the Three Fork Sinbad’s Pizza. 


Susan says…

Although I was not impressed with the Sinbad’s facade and even less impressed with the interior decor, the food is divine.  You must try it.

I was concerned about being full with just a gyro, so I ordered a “dinner” item: chicken shish kabob for $11.99.  I always ask at least one question and the Question of the Day to the pleasant man behind the counter was:  “may I substitute extra veggies in place of rice?”   I was instantly pleased with his response for two reasons.

  1. He said “yes”.  I really appreciate restaurants that try to accommodate requests like that.  I was trying to avoid the carb-loaded rice and was able to do so without feeling silly or being charged extra.
  2. We experienced a bit of a communication hiccup.  Why would this please me? you may be asking yourself.  When you are ordereing something other than meat & taters and there is a slight to severe language barrier, it’s a good indication that the food will be fairly authentic.

They cooked our selections fresh while we waited in an area filled with a sofa, a couple chairs and a table full of newspapers and advertisements.  The chicken was extracted from an industrial sized spice container that found a second life as a marination vessel.  Fresh green peppers, onions and tomato wedges were also added to the hot grill top.


Clever Packaging Warms the Pita

The packaging of this meal was so clever.  The hot food was placed in a foil-lined styrofoam to-go container and the fresh pita was laid on top of it before closing the lid.  By the time I got back to the office, my pita was nicely warmed and ready to enjoy. 

Boy, were my worries about the portion size unfounded.  I ate half of my meal and was so stuffed, I quietly whined all afternoon.  I received what felt like 5 pounds of food.  I got two satisfying lunches out of my haul. 

The chicken was tender and delicately spiced.  The veggies were still crisp and brightly colored, and there was a good amount of sauce/juice for dipping the pita (or to be absorbed by the rice).   While we are on the subject, that pita was delicious!  There was a sprinkling of some sort of spice on the surface, maybe seasoned salt?  I don’t know.  I just know I loved it.


Chicken Shish Kabob meal

In addition to all that, I also received my choice of small salad for the $11.99 price tag.  I selected tabbouleh.  Tabouleh is a salad made primarily of bulgar wheat and parsley.  You will also taste lemon, tomato, mint and onion.  It provides a nice contrast to the hot shish kabob.

I am excited about trying the spinach feta pizza and perhaps having a deathmatch between Sinbad’s and Morocco’s versions.  Next time I order Mediterranean food, I will go with the gyro or split the shish kabob with a friend.  The menu is at the end of the post.  Click on the thumbnails for a full-size image.

The taste, the value, the pita…all wonderful.  And I would happily give Sinbad’s four forks if they had a dining area, real dishes (and utensils) and a proper drink selection including fountain sodas and adult beverages.  All things considered, the pros and the cons, I highly recommend this THREE FORK take-out establishment.

Misty says…

We were in the mood to try something different and either Susan or Daniel suggested Sinbads.  Since I usually don’t have a strong preference on where we dine (as I can always find something to eat), I agreed.  As we arrived, I was unimpressed with the appearance of the restaurant and I was getting concerned…It was already past 12:00 and I was starving.  If we ordered food here, there was nowhere to sit and eat- which meant we had to wait for our food to be cooked, and then go to an alternate location to eat.  If we went somewhere else, that would take time, too.  I was trying to stay positive, but I was just moments away from a meltdown.  Susan and Daniel seemed to be really excited about trying the food here, so I tried to put my best poker face on.

I was the last to order…I was debating between the chicken gyro and the spinach pizza.  With the pressure on, I decided to get the chicken gyro for $4.99 and a Coke $1.50.  I was so concerned about what I was going to get to eat; I didn’t notice until now that the Coke I ordered was in a bottle…downgrade.  We waited about 10 minutes for our food to be cooked, and then we were on our way to the car.

On the way back to the office, I was obsessing about my food regret…why did I not get the pizza.  I bet it would have been so good.  My head was filled with a dozen thoughts and reasons why the pizza would have been a better choice than the gyro.  Pizza transports better, the pizza would have been bigger, now I am going to have to go and get a supplement (chips/candy bar) to go with my gyro; the gyro is going to be soggy.  Why did I pick the gyro??? 


When I unwrapped my gyro, I was pleasantly surprised.  This was much larger than I expected- a supplement was definitely not needed.  It was stuffed full of large chunks of chicken, lettuce and tomatoes.  They were definitely not skimpy on the toppings.  I had a hard time not taking a bite out of my food before Daniel finally took the picture.

When I took my first bite, my food regret was OVER!  This gyro was delicious.  Let’s start with the pita.  It wasn’t soggy at all.  It was soft on the inside with a slight crispiness on the outside.   The grilled, marinated chicken was very tender with a very good taste.  There were a few onion slices that were grilled with the chicken.  It was just the right amount.  The cucumber sauce was thick and creamy. 

When I was done eating, I was full- but not stuffed.  It was a perfect portion of delectable food!

Next time, now that we are armed with a menu, we will have to call in our order.   Sinbad’s would be a great option for pick up or delivery.  And…I can get that pizza!

I’m with Susan…The food is definitely worth 4 forks, but the bottled coke and absence of a dining room bring it down.

I give Sinbad’s 3 FORKS.

 Sinbad’s Pizza and Mediterranean
 5006 MacCorkle Ave
Charleston, WV 25304
(304) 926-6002

 Sinbads on Urbanspoon

16 responses to “A Take-Out Treasure – Sinbads

  1. I had no idea this place has Mediterranean food! I thought they just had pizza. I work in the neighborhood and I’m sick of the restaurant options. Also, I’ve been craving a gyro (a lamb one), so I’m definitely going to try it.

  2. Sounds good. How was the lamb?
    Is this the same Sinbad’s that once had a lunch buffet over in a small office building on the blvd?
    If so, they possibly had the best tibuli in town, next to my own.
    It was run by a big strapping good looking mid eastern guy who all the women I knew wanted to . . . is this a family blog?

  3. I didn’t get “Maaaawaaa” this time, but next time for sure.

    I not sure if this is the same Sinbad’s.

    We only like dirty rice and gooey ducks on this blog, but around a few beers is a different story.

  4. Things I am thankful for this April Fool’s Day:

    1. Susan and Dan are back together.

    2. Fork You has reviewed a LOCAL establishment.

    3. I can get a falafel sandwich in KC!

    But Sinbad’s, at it’s original location in South Charleston, was the site of my most disgusting restaurant incident ever. I will have to go inspect the place before I bite into anything they sell (of course, that’s been nigh on 10 years ago and they must’ve gotten better by now, right?).

    And yes, it’s the same folks that had the location on the blvd. At least the same owner; not sure about the cook.

  5. 1. You say that like we’re married. Susan is my work wife. So we fight from time to time.

    2. Define LOCAL?

    3. Yes indeed, but you could get a great falafel sandwich with fries at Alladin’s on Chesterfield Ave.

  6. You know, “local… Charleston”; like your blog description says. Not a chain whose HQ is in Kansas City. Not a local restaurant in New Jersey. Local. Charleston.

    And Alladin’s falafel is gross. At least the one time I had it.

    • Susan didn’t care for their falafels either. I’m only an aspiring falafel connoisseur. We will be redefining local as the Tri-state and midatlantic so as not to run out of non chain places to review. That way we will not go three months without posting a review. 😉

  7. Falafel = yuck.

    Especially when they look so much like donuts. (See the photo on the Alladin review)

    I was the only one at the table brave enough to even taste them (Daniel was absent on this occasion). After the others were convinced that I would experience no immediate ill effects from the taste test, they also tried the falafel. All but Misty. She’s a wimp.

  8. If you’re going to deep fry something, it needs to be something that is whole and covered in a coating, like a battered shrimp.
    Making a chick pea paste and then deep frying it just seems like over kill to me. Too heavy for me. . . and then you want to put it between bread and call it a sandwich?! Naw, yer breakin the rules. . .
    How about just eating humus with some lightly battered deep fried vegetable slices if you need something chick pea?

  9. I don’t think falafel is supposed to be deep fried, just pan fried – you know, seared on each side.

  10. Tee hee- I happened to be the “reader” who suggested Sinbad’s. I am so very glad you tried it and even happier at your all’s findings. Although I agree the “atmosphere” is a little off, this is an awesome place. The first time I tried it was when a neighbor suggested this before we went the movies. There were a total of 6 of us. We sat at those couches and pulled the tables around and ate there.

    We ordered the “sampler platter” costs about $25.00. It fed all 6 of us and we had leftovers!!!! We did order some extra pita breads though, it does say serves 2….

    We eat there at least once a month always ordering the sampler. It comes with 2 meat (choice of chicken or beef) and veggie kabob’s worth (I say it that way because it isn’t on a stick), white rice, a large hummus, a large salad (tabouli, greek, erm not sure what else is a salad choice), 2 falafel, like 8 stuffed grape leaves, and maybe 6 pita breads.

    The gentleman behind the counter is always happy to see us and is more than accommodating with us being there and taking up the “spot”. Last time we were there he threw in a yogurt that tasted almost like a cream cheese. It was Good!!

  11. Edit- In the description for what comes in the sampler platter, the balls are not the falafel’s unless that is another name for Kibbee/Kibbeh (cinnamon tasting meat balls with pine nuts).

  12. Pingback: Best at the Mall May Be Best of Crete « Fork You…

  13. I like Sinbad’s chicken gyros, but tried their lamb gyros yesterday and think I’m hooked.

  14. My pursuit of all non chain Charleston restaurants led me to Sinbad’s. I looked at the menu you had posted and gleefully ordered the lamb gyro, felafel, small greek salad with house dressing, and pizza. This was dinner for my wife and I and also enough for lunch the next day. When I went in to pay and pick up our food I was greeted with a smile by both men. The younger man, who was there on my second visit a few days later, stated he had felafel for dinner. I smiled and asked if it was any good and he smiled and quickly responded “It was delicious, I make it myself, homemade every day.” We both had a good chuckle and he thanked me for coming in. That’s something you don’t get very often at a chain but I have felt every time I have patronized a non chain. A person who is genuinely happy you came in. The lamb gyro was really good. The sandwich was stuffed with grilled onions, peppers and tomatoes, feta, lamb and tzatziki. They were not stingy with any of the fillings and it was huge. Definitely all you need for lunch and at $5.99 blows all other sandwiches at that price point out of the water. It looks different than your picture though because it is rolled up like a burrito similar to Pita Pit instead of just folded in half. The felafel had a really good flavor. It was crisp on the outside but it was a little dry. I’m not a felafel connoisseur so maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I would eat it again on a sandwich but I don’t think I want it alone. The salad was good. It was bag lettuce but it had black olives, feta, diced onion and green pepper as well as banana pepper slices so that made up for it. The star of the salad though was the dressing. I tasted lemon, olive oil, mint, salt and pepper. There may have been more ingredients but that is all I detected. I loved it. I could have dipped the felafel and my gyro in it had I not used it all on the salad. The pizza was pizza. Was it better than Little Caesars? Absolutely. Pizza Hut? You bet. Pies and Pints? Nope. I am very satisfied with my dining experience and confidently recommend Sinbad’s to all. The owner was nice and like I mentioned before, was happy to see me. I give Sinbad’s Four Forks and look forward to many future meals there.

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