Dec 08, 2010 07:54PM ● Published by Anonymous
Originally from Punjab, India, owner Suraj Kumar and his wife, Sudesh, worked in restaurants in New York, Austin, and Denver before coming to this area. In 1997, after a fire destroyed the restaurant they opened on Main Street in 1992, Mr. Kumar, along with his wife, son Raghu, and daughter Rozy, moved to the current location. Their nephew, Zeenat Bhano, is the chef, and he allows you to travel the old country through a wonderful array of spices and cooking methods. You will take that trip comfortably seated in an elegant, peaceful setting, observing some very fine imported arts and listening to some subtle music.
Our server, Monsoo, kindly took our drink order and offered dinner recommendations. The Vegetable Pakoras ($6.95) was his first tip—a good one, as it was probably one of the hits of the dinner. It was a mélange of shredded spinach, potatoes, cauliflowers and onions bonded with a batter full of spices and carefully deep-fried—a mouthwatering bite.
The second appetizer was the Murgh Pakoras ($7.95), another delicious choice, consisting of tender pieces of chicken marinated in gram flour, yogurt, and spices and batter-fried. Because we shared, it was somewhat of a duel as to who would get the last piece. Our third choice was probably one of the most well-known specialties: the Mulligatawny ($5.95), traditional South Indian soup seasoned with golden lentils, tamarind, peppercorns, ginger, garlic, and other exotic spices. It was the best I have ever had.
As we moved to the next round, choosing our meal got a little more complex. With Monsoo’s assistance, we were able to choose entrees that we knew we would appreciate. We were looking for an array of light spices, perhaps light sweetness, but definitely original.
We found the light sweetness in the Lobster Malai Khasa ($24.95), a succulent tail of fresh lobster simmered in a coconut-flavored cream sauce and served with steamed basmati rice. For our lightly spicy dish, we ordered the Shrimp Vindaloo ($20.95), which was tender shrimp and potatoes smothered in a hot curry sauce. It was hot, but also very tasty, served with basmati rice as well.
To balance our entrees, we choose a third dish that was something away from spicy heat and richer with traditional Indian spice flavors—the Chicken Biyrani ($17.95), an absolutely delicious combination of long grain basmati rice and chicken with intricately designed blend of spices.
Basmati rice is the preferred rice in India’s cuisine, and the grains are longer than most other types of rice. Cooked grains of Basmati rice are characteristically free-flowing rather than sticky, as with most long-grain rice. Cooked basmati rice can be uniquely identified by its fragrance and is available in both white and brown varieties.
This experience was a treat! While we’re discussing treats, we had to really see what the dessert list could bring us. Not knowing what direction to actually go, Mr. Kumar made the choice for us. The first one was a Carrot Pudding ($5.75), which was very interesting and, furthermore, simply delectable. It is not a typical “pudding” consistency, rather a smooth and creamy texture with a very light firmness. The cooking method is a delicate procedure of mixing the ingredients and slowly cooking it down, while blending all flavors until it reaches the right consistency.
The other dessert was a Rice Pudding ($5.75), which was very good as well, using the same cooking method the Carrot Pudding. The consistency is left to a nice and silky stage.
Mr. Kumar joined us at the end of the meal, and we delightfully listen to an array different ways of life and culture, which ended our evening on an enjoyable note.
For the hospitality, for the adventure, and for the bounty of flavors, all I can say is—well done, Mr. Kumar.
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner Monday through Thursday
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dinner Friday
11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
$4.95-$12.95 appetizers and soups, $13.95-$24.95 entrees, $5.95 esserts, and $3.95-$7 beverages. Lunch buffet offered Monday through Friday for $11.95
Monday - Thursday: $11.95 Buffet Lunch 11:30 - 2:30; Dinner 5 - 10:00 p.m.
Gilles Syglowski graduated from the Lycee d’Enseignement Professionel Hotelier in Metz, France, and is a certified executive chef, certified culinary instructor, and food-service consultant. Mr. Syglowski has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and is currently assistant general manager of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.