There’s a little restaurant hiding in the basement of the Talbott Tower in downtown Dayton. I’m not sure of the name, it has no web presence and has alternatively been called “Halal”, “Bourbon Chicken/Homestyle Chili” and “Homestyle Chili & Bourbon Chicken.” We can call it “Halal Bourbon Chicken & Homestyle Chili” because that’s what’s printed on the menu.
And yes. The food is as confusing as the name sounds.
- Bourbon chicken is a sodium bomb. Worse, it’s a pre-prepared sodium bomb. I don’t know how long this stuff was waiting in the kitchen to be served, but I stepped in just before the lunch rush and it was already made. Not packaged or anything, but still, until orders start really coming in, even bourbon chicken would probably be better when made-to-order. Having worked in food service, I can also tell you it’s discouraged to let food sit like that for too long either.
- Lo mein was placed beneath the bourbon chicken to soak up some of that salty sauce. It’s a simple lo mein, in fact I think it’s just noodles and some cabbage, but the texture is good at least. Could have used its own sauce, or at least a separate container. At a price point of about $6 for a “small” with one side and $8 for a “large” with two sides it seemed a little underwhelming as a meal.
- Spicy chicken: I haven’t liked a lot of stuff I have tried here, but this dish is an exception. Cajun spices (heavy on black pepper and paprika) make it addictive and it’s great when it comes with another Creole classic, dirty rice.
The restaurant interior needs some serious work. It’s essentially unmarked, next to no images or decoration around the booths which are all different designs and together sort of dated. Not a lot of light in the place either. In fact, it really didn’t seem like the kind of restaurant where you’d want to sit down. And all of that might be contributing to the branding issue. In short, Halal, Bourbon Chicken, Homestyle Chili, or whatever you call this restaurant, really could use some simple things to make itself a more attractive looking place, and maybe even some of that food would be worth it for the convenience. But as it is now, this is one basement bistro you might want to pass up.