From cart to finish, The Halal Guys doesn’t fail to delight


photo by Matthew Rabinowitz

The Halal Guys offers heaping rice platters with toppings of chicken, beef “gyro,” olives, lettuce and peppers on its menu.

Matthew Rabinowitz, Assistant Opinion Editor

A franchise of The Halal Guys restaurant recently opened in Bethesda, Md., bringing delicious and filling Mediterranean food for around 10 dollars to a convenient location along Bethesda Row. Although originally started as a small food cart in New York City, The Halal Guys has been franchised throughout the rest of the country, with multiple restaurants in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

Once inside, I quickly knew what I wanted because there were so few options: either a pita sandwich or a rice platter with a choice of protein and assorted toppings. I could additionally purchase four sides, drinks and a single dessert: baklava.

I decided on a regular rice platter with a combination of chicken and beef “gyro,” olives, lettuce and peppers for 10 dollars, although I could have chosen a vegetarian option: falafel. Unlike many other similarly-styled restaurants, The Halal Guys does not slack on the meat. I received a generous helping of both chicken and gyro.

I also ordered a side of pita and hummus for three dollars. I was surprised at the large quantity of hummus that I was given. I could barely finish half of it by the end of my meal.

Although extremely flavorful, something was missing. I realized that I had forgotten the restaurant’s signature white sauce, a variation of mayonnaise. I loaded it onto my platter, ignoring the extremely high calorie count on the side of the packet. My meal instantly tasted better, as the mild tone of the sauce balanced out the tanginess and dryness dish.

The hummus was extremely dry, mealy and somewhat bland; the majority of its moistness and flavor came from the large amount of olive oil that the cashier poured over top.

Eventually, I got up the courage to try the hot sauce. I first had to wipe off the packets, though, because they were both disgustingly covered in grease. Although I love spice, even I could barely handle a tiny amount of the sauce.  

Throughout my meal, I shifted uncomfortably in my hard, metal seat and tried to ignore the amount of trash on the ground. Luckily, the music was not too loud and did not take my attention away from the friend that I was with.

If you are in a rush and hungry for delicious Mediterranean food with flavourful meats and sauces, I highly recommend The Halal Guys. Otherwise, the nearby Moby Dick House of Kabob offers a much larger selection of higher quality Mediterranean cuisine (albeit with different flavors) and tastier pita and hummus for slightly higher prices and longer wait times.