Updated
Mar 13th, 2019
First Posted
Mar 30th, 2016

5th Element Indian Grill

1325 S Powerline Rd
Pompano Beach FL, 33069
Overall Rating
1.9
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
03/12/2019

Details

Parking: Private Lot

Pros

10.99 Lunch Buffet
Free Parking

Cons

Tasteless Food
Disorganized Service
Almost everything is Slop
Lousy Bread

Critic's Review

With a new expensive Indian restaurant opening on Las Olas, I needed to remind my self of how bad Indian food tastes so I could weigh it against the higher end stuff. I'd been to this place when it first opened and I had a glimmer of hope that they'd learned some things and improved their buffet.

Decore hasn't changed a bit; same place as 2 years ago when they opened. They have gotten rid of the plastic table coverings. And they raised the price to a still manageable $10.99.

I was seated at the same table as last time; ordered an iced tea and hit the buffet without sitting down.

I headed over to the salad to find a much word offering than before; cukes cut into massive slices, unwanted huge carrot sticks, wilted lettuce and no onions or tomatoes. And they still have no American dressings; Indian dressing are all crap; would it kill them to put on some italian dressing?

The meats are all stews; Indian food is basically peasant food. A lot of chicken and some goat; no lamb on this buffet.

There was no bread out while I was filling my plate and I would have been very mad if they didn't have bread. But just as I was heading back to the table they put out some bread.

Not the best bread, but still the best thing on the buffet. They call it "butter bread", but it wasn't brushed with butter or oil.

Goat on the left, some chicken dish on the right, a bad salad, a tandoori chicken leg, butter chicken and white rice.

The Tandoori chicken wasn't bad. The "Goat" could have been anything and the brownish chicken dish was laden with bone fragments. The Butter chicken was bland but not offensive tasting.

Bad Indian music filled the air; nothing useful on the TV; why have a TV to just show random stuff on it?

Back for another plate. The Vegetarian stuff all looked pretty bad; I couldn't see an entire plate of this stuff.

Some of the items had these labels that tell you what's in it. Not a bad thing to do with every item in this buffet, since one tray of slop looks just like all of the others.

Notice that the yellow stuff on the plate doesn't look much like the picture on the label. Overcooked, tasteless lentils.

A tandoori thigh, more butter chicken, some other green slop, biryani rice and more bread. Thank God for the bread. The dark red stuff was "chili chicken", sort of like a buffalo chicken variation. Everything on this place was nothing more than a source of calories.

No refills on the iced tea. At 2:30 the floor people are busy setting up the tables for dinner. I asked the guy who took my tea order (I never saw a server again) for my check. He continued to wipe down tables and them disappeared into the bar area. Waiting and waiting, another dude asked if I was done.

Finally the guy came back with the check; he put it right over my CC that I'd long before laid on the table. I put it back on top, and he took it and back to the bar area. Meanwhile all of my empty plates are still in front of me. When he brought back the bill he put it down on the table and walked away; I had to push plates out of the way to make room so I could sign the bill. I generously gave $1 tip for the non-service I received.

Conclusion

5th Element offers the lowest possible level of food and service; I do give them credit for having plenty of meat out, but nothing I had today had any actual taste at all. Servers seem disinterested and are slow to remove empty plates. Amazingly the same rating as when they first opened; I lowered the food rating because I was worse than the last time I was here.

My last visit here ever.

Review 3/29/16

This place has been "opening" for months; now finally they're open.

They have a bar here; they only have a wine and beer license, Upon entry you think it might be a nice place.

But once past the bar, it's pretty dreary. A tightly packed dining room with burnt orange vinyl tablecloths, a few booths and a buffet on a raised area. I had to wait a minute for a dude to seat me; I could have found a seat on my own.

No menu or offer of a beverage, so I just hit the buffet. One side is meat and salads, and the other is vegetarian.

Goat curry, Tikka Masala, some soft of chicken kabab. I loaded up a place and took some biryani rice, which they tagged as "medium'.

The goat was tough and the chicken tikka masala was surprisingly tasteless. The food looked right, but it was generally devoid of seasoning.

When I returned to my table there was a glass of water; nobody ever offered me a soft drink. Also, nobody pointed out how the buffet worked. There was a soda machine in the back. Are drinks included? Everyone else was just drinking water also.

They had a non-working TV in the otherwise non-descript dining room.

I decided I needed some salad, so I went up for another plate. To my horror, there were no recognizable dressings. They had some chutneys, yogurt rice and some other sort of yogurt. Is yogurt rice a salad dressing? The other yogurt was the consistency of milk, but I went for it anyway.

They had some really bad looking tomatoes. The salad bar was pretty lame.

After polishing off most of the meat, I want back to check out the veggie offerings. They had tags on the sneeze guard, but half of them were missing. Others were abbreviated, so I had no idea what the items were.

I got some chick peas, and I found the bread over in the back. I'm not sure that anyone knew where the bread was.

The bread was dry and not brushed with oil or ghee. Probably the worse bread I've had at an Indian restaurant.

I saw a dude come down with some orange soft server; I thought it might be sherbet. I went up, grabbled a cup and pulled up on the handle. It just made a loud noise, but nothing came out. After trying a couple of more times, I had to ask someone to show me how it worked.

As it turns out, you have to not only lift the handle, but you have to pull up. A manual ice cream machine, unlike the electric ones they have at Sweet Tomatoes and HomeTown buffets. They guy drew me a lot more than I was going to eat.

Mango Ice Cream. I can't say it's something that I'd ever order, but it tasted pretty good. The only thing I had with any taste at all.

I asked for my check, which he brought right away.

Nobody had cleared any of my plates the entire time here. There was a girl wiping down tables after people left, but not much service while dining. I still don't know if drinks are included, or if they have drinks. Why have a wine and beer license and then don't offer anything to anyone?

The charge for the buffet is 9.99. I guess you can't complain about that.

Conclusion

From their online presence it was pretty obvious that these folks were disorganized (emails were never answered); and the operation itself is indeed highly disorganized. A new business has to explain how their buffet works. This was like a (bad) wedding buffet where you just go in the room and eat.

As Indian food goes, this is basic grub. The old Madras Cafe that used to be across the street was better than this. It's cheap food, but the experience isn't good. It's too uncomfortable to consider coming here again for me.

Comment Policy Add Comment
Administrator
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Opening in "a couple of weeks". So figure Early November.
Regular Reader
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Any news? I wonder if they will ever open!
Administrator
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No news. I've stopped seeking it.

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