24416 S Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
The Halal Inferno grill is located in a small, older little strip mall on the east side of Crenshaw Blvd just south of Lomita Blvd. The area is a mix of automotive, retail and industrial uses so the look can be deceiving – especially in comparison to the newer, more modern look to the Torrance Crossroads across the street. Parking was plentiful on the day we went. The restaurant features a small selection of tables with booths around the perimeter. The restaurant had an A in the window.
CARL: Halal is the term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law. I’m the furthest thing from an expert in this area as anyone but Oliver and I decided to be adventurous and pop inside for a lunch. When approaching the building I was a little put off by the older look of the building. Adding to the confusion we accidentally walked into the open kitchen door by mistake which was located next to the main entry doors. It seems a bit odd to have an open kitchen door at the front of the building but it is a small space so there may not have been too many options. Upon entering the dining room we were greeted by a friendly gentleman named Ibad that seated us and brought us menus. He was friendly but was very distracted with things in the kitchen so we had to wait a while for service and for our drinks. Not much on the menu looked familiar except some classic American burgers and sandwiches. I decided that if we were going to try a Halal restaurant, I might as well challenge myself with something a tad more ethnic. I opted for the Chicken Seekh Kabob thinking it would be chunks on a skewer but it turned out to be minced meat that had been formed into a sausage like shape and cooked on a skewer. The Seekh Kabob was flavored with a strong spicy curry flavor and it had a yellowish color. I’ve never been a fan of curry so I knew I had ordered the wrong thing but I tried it anyway. I ended up eating two of the three Kabobs and passing the third one to Oliver.
For me the best part of the meal was the Garlic Naan. It is a very thin bread with garlic and cheese – sort of pizzaish. It was very tasty and I must have had 4 pieces of the Garlic Naan. Putting my poor menu choice aside, the biggest problem with our visit was the service. We had to wait a long time for our drinks and when we were ready to go we waited, and waited and waited for our check. I finally had to get up and go to the kitchen to find someone to get our bill for us. We didn’t have exact change so we waited again for our server to return but he never did. We finally found a mix of bills to leave behind and we walked out. The restaurant itself is a bit worn out with the furniture and booths showing lots of wear and tear. If this turned out to be a hidden gem with amazing food the decor and service could have been forgiven but as a package, it just didn’t work for me. If you are a fan of authentic Halal Middle Eastern food, you might enjoy it. I’m giving Halal Inferno Grill 3 Lunch Pigs.
Oliver: As always I’m on the look out for something new and different, I spotted this place while using Google traffic view to check out another possible Lunch Pig destination. The sign outside had a grittiness to it and I knew I had to try them out. The place is definitely a little unpolished, but our server, Ibad, was very friendly, albeit busy. He helped explain some of the items on the menu to us and I ordered the Chicken Tikka plate. Tikka is a popular dish served in Pakistan and India, as well as all around the world. It consists of bits of chicken (The word tikka means “bits, pieces”) marinated in yogurt and spices, and then cooked on skewers in a clay oven called a Tandoor. Ibad offered to show us the oven since neither of us were familiar with it. The pieces are brushed with a clarified butter called ghee which gives it it’s great taste, meanwhile it is being fanned while cooked. It is typically eaten with a green coriander and tamarind chutney. The Naan bread is a standard flat bread buttered with garlic and enjoyed in central and south Asia. I went to town eating those.
I also wound up eating one of the Seekh Kabob Carl left on his plate, thought I might as well give it a try. It was pretty good, an interesting sort of sausage. Curry not being typical in a sausage like that. Definitely unique. I will definitely eat here again, maybe do some take out. It is a little rough, but they are also not a chain with a lot of capital. If you are in the mood for something just a little bit past different, then consider giving Ibad and the Inferno grill a try. The price was $7.95 for the plate and I left very satisfied. They get 3.5 pigs from me.