The further east you go out here in the SCV, the more limited the dining options are. While there are some great restaurants deep in Canyon Country and beyond, generally the options are pretty limited.
Grill Factory is new, and because that is the case, the clean and modern looking restaurant was, well, empty. When we walked in to pick up our take-out, there was one couple leaving and while I was there, only about three people came in. Again, new restaurant stuck in a corner of a strip mall better known for a Vons and discount cigarettes, might take some time to get some traction.
If it does, it will have some hurdles to overcome. The food was, at best, mediocre. We ordered a variety of menu items, to ensure a complete flavor profile, and came away none too impressed.
The overarching issue was lack of flavor. The steak and chicken both suffered from under-seasoning. The white meat used in the chicken kabobs (more like tenders) was big and thick, but probably could have used more marinade and more time on a low grill flame. Or, it would have been better to be cut in smaller pieces.
The chicken lule was more flavorful, most likely due to being made of ground chicken, which absorbs flavor better. The falafel was the best item we ate, but also suffered from blandness. There was some spice on the backend, but the meal used to make the patty could have benefitted from salt.
The hummus was tasty but missing that sharp garlic flavor you hope to get from a good hummus. A little too much lemon and oil, not enough garlic. The fries that were served with the kid’s meal were grossly under cooked and limp.
Even the rice was bland.
There were several bright notes. The stuffed grape leaves (dolma) were juicy and flavorful and, in many ways, the best part of the meal.
I would be remiss in not mentioning that the prices are pretty high, but you do get a lot for the money. All of the plates come with three large pieces of meat, rice or fries, hummus and pita and a side, while the Combo Plate has four pieces of two different meats and the same sides. The kid’s meal is one large piece of meat and the same sides. And dine-in gives you access to the very popular Coke Freestyle machine.
And the counter folks we met were super nice…from taking a complicated order over the phone to lighting the butane on the shawarma spits to make the photo more dramatic, the staff was very polite and helpful.
I hope this place stays open for their sake. It’s not at all a place to go out of your way for, which might present an uphill battle for them The west side of the valley has some great sit down and take out Mediterranean grill options, and the food at Grill Factory was not good enough to make a special trip unless it’s just down the street for you.
The Grill Factory
16522 Soledad Canyon Rd
Santa Clarita, California