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Buffet's the Thing

Bold City meets Kabul at this kabob stop

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Food is political. Food is a bridge-builder. Food is a common denominator.

At Bold City Kabobs, food is all those things and more. This restaurant represents the kind of place that I cherish. It’s a modest, strip-mall spot that serves international dishes and has a mural of Jacksonville on one giant wall. A place with good food–some of which you’ve never tried–and a staff of lovely people who want to take you through the entire menu!

I walked in with the intention of getting a single kabob with a delicious side, but plans were derailed in the best kind of way. Bold City Kabobs has a buffet ($10.99) that stretches from lunch to dinner every day. I always appreciate a buffet at an international restaurant because it gives me a chance to discover some new dishes with relatively little risk. And, with plenty of meat and veggie options available, it also makes it easy for everyone at the table to get what they want.

Take a plate and pile it high with tabouli and hummus to scoop up with warm pita bread. Make sure to save room for the eggplant that rocked my world– eggplant so amazin’ that I would use the brain-exploding emoji to describe it (if, ya know, I weren’t a bona fide writer). The thin, lengthwise slices of eggplant are pan-fried, juicy and folded around a little bit of mozzarella cheese. They’re then baked and sprinkled with fresh chopped onions, green peppers and tomatoes. The perfectly soft flesh produces a slightly caramelized bite with a hint of spice.

The meat selection boasts shaved lamb gyro, chicken kabob, chicken thighs and meatballs. Both gyro and kabob are probably best ordered fresh from the kitchen and served up solo on a plate, rather than scooped up from the buffet tray. The chicken was a little dry and the gyro slices were not as crisp as they could be. However, the beef meatballs were some of the best meatballs I’ve ever tasted–excluding those made by members of my own family, of course.

If you’re on the go, grab a chicken or gyro pita ($6.95). If you’re in it to win it, then I suggest the Afghan entrees section. My eyes widened when I spotted mantoo ($10.99), small dumplings with diced onions and minced meat, on the menu. Long-time readers may remember an Afghan restaurant, now closed, by the name of Ariana Kabob & Grill. Mantoo was their specialty, and if you’ve been searching for those tastes, you can find them at Bold City Kabob.

There’s always room for dessert. Bold City Kabobs’ homemade-style baklava is the perfect sweet way to end your meal. If you do decide to go the way of the buffet, you might want to forego the “donut” finale. We were perplexed by the oblong, yellow-cake treat. If it looks like a Twinkie and tastes like a Twinkie, it just might be a Twinkie!

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If you have a recommendation or know of a new place, shoot me an email at food@folioweekly.com.

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