"Don't expect restaurant food at Sizzle N Spice" might seem like an odd review for the restaurant Sizzle N Spice, but that's kind of what the owners want you to know.
Chefs have techniques we all crave, but they also have shortcuts and they think about food costs in such a way that doesn't always improve the food. For the family behind Sizzle N Spice, the Pakistani restaurant in Northwest OKC, the point of owning a restaurant is to introduce people to their homestyle cuisine made the same way their friends and family in Pakistan do it.
The results? Undeniable.
It's not that Sizzle N Spice's owners don't want it to be a success or that they aren’t turning a profit, but the money is just a way to keep doing what they love: cooking for people.
The food coming out of the kitchen is rustic, unpolished, and utterly and completely delicious.
Head to Sizzle N Spice for lunch and you'll be met with a small buffet overflowing with flavor. The menu changes day to day, but there's always something vegetarian, vegan, mild, spicy, you name it. And if you're not sure what to get, the owners are the ones serving you: ask and they'll happily tell you what they recommend.
One of the easiest recommendations I can give you is the naan. Cooked in an actual tandoor, this naan has more filling to it than many I’ve had, which kind of puff themselves into a hollow shell. This was crust-to-crust bread and very useful for dipping in the sauces left behind by your curry. I don’t know if it’s the best naan I’ve ever had, but it’s definitely near the top.
If you've been staring at their online menu and craving some of their kebabs, ask for one. It's a $5 upcharge that upgrades your meal with delicious chicken tikka or the one-of-a-kind chapli kebab, made in the Peshawar style. It looks kind of like a hamburger, but the way it’s cooked is amazing. There’s a slanted griddle that sears the meat before it’s pushed into bubbling oil, cooking it through. Would I put this in a bun and eat it? Absolutely.
To try all the kebabs, which is what you really want, right?, you ought to order the Royal Tandoori Mix Sizzler ($20.99) at dinner. It comes with rice and salad, so it’s not just meat, but there’s still A LOT of meat. The tandoori chicken was even better at night, likely because it had more time to marinate in the yogurt, which gives it that juicy texture. The seekh kebab, which looks similar to a kubedeh kebab, was unbelievable. So tender and juicy that even when I reheated it in the microwave the next day, it was delectable. You also get that awesome chapli kebab.
(I haven’t tried it yet, but there’s also a seekh kebab karahi for $13.99 on the menu. I cannot imagine it’s anything less than amazing based on the rest of the food.)
Pakistani food shares some similarities with Indian food, but Sizzle n Spice is much closer to Afghani and Iranian cuisine, so prepare your taste buds for something new.
Chicken Jal-Fraizi is full of succulent fall apart chicken with big chunks of tender roasted bell peppers that add sweetness and texture to each bite. If you miss it on the buffet, you can order it as an entree ($13.99) or as a wrap ($7.99) for dinner.
For a somewhat similar flavor, but without meat, we tried the Paneer Cheese Masala Karahi ($13.99). Paneer is a farmer’s cheese, soft and chewy, that is adept at soaking up spices, almost like tofu. Except the cheese holds the flavor, but mitigates the heat. (If you’re really afraid of the heat, pick up a mango lassi for $4.99 and wash away the burning with a sweet yogurt drink.) I love the rustic presentation here, as the pieces of red and yellow bell pepper are soft and glossy, the perfect size to wrap around the bites of cheese.
The almond milk chicken is a godsend. Light and creamy on the tongue, the sweetness of the almond coats each bite of chicken and practically melts when you bite it. This one was only on the buffet, so don’t expect to find it on the dinner menu. Though maybe as a special?
The special I got is the goat karahi ($14.99) and, look, we need to talk about bones. I know that some of you are very reluctant to eat meat off of a bone and that’s…sad for you. If you think the bone serves no purpose, you are sadly mistaken. Just like we make chicken stock from chicken bones and beef stock from beef bones, cooking the meat along with the bones only adds to the creaminess and the flavor of the meat. The goat was tender, almost ready to shred itself as I pulled it off the bones. Mixed in with a blend of tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and spices, it was truly satisfying. There’s definitely heat here, though, so prepare yourself.
If there’s one stumbling block for this restaurant, it’s probably the location. Far northwest OKC, in the area west of Edmond, is a fur piece, but the flavor and the friendliness of the staff are worth putting a few extra miles on your car.