Ethiopian was on the agenda today but unexpected complications led us to Indian Chaat and Sweets instead, otherwise known as the ugly abandoned building on University I always see when I get on/off the freeway.
I worried that the empty parking lot meant the place was closed, but it was only a reflection of a mediocre restaurant in an economic recession on a Monday night. Like Chick-O-Pea’s, the four of us were the only diners sitting in the restaurant, except in this case, no one even came in for a to-go order. Depressing not to be able to people watch! Instead, I felt watched by the (I assume) family who staffed the place, as seems to be always the case when I go to Indian restaurants no matter how many people there are. I shouldn’t hold it against them but I don’t like incessant staring when I’m eating – nor waiting forever for them to clear the plates and give us the check.
papadum with dribbles of sauce
I’ve seen these crackers before as appetizers but have never tried them. I was really hungry but these were one of the worst things I’ve eaten before. It was offensively salty and the texture felt stale and papery, although that’s probably normal for lentil flour or whatever they use in the dough. Some of us liked the sauces. The papadum had a mild aroma of bombay mix I used to eat, which I never want to smell again thanks to my trip to England last summer. 99 pence bag of bombay mix+a few days locked in my dorm trying to avoid spending money=new food aversions
Lamb Vindaloo (12) - Boneless lamb cubes cooked in hot spicy - tangy sauce, served with potatoes
Seekh Kabab - Minced lamb rolls coked (sic) in clay oven with herbs & spices
I didn’t try these but those who did thought they were fine. Just fine. Both these diners can handle their heat and from what I heard, the Seekh Kabab was spiced perfectly, although there was a misunderstanding with the lamb and it was only moderately spicy.
Vegetarian Thali (16) - Two vegetable curries of the day, lentil soup, nan bread
I split the thali with Baingan Bhartha (eggplant) and Mutter Paneer with a friend. Everything tasted alright, but I think I’m just not a good judge of Indian food due to all its agressive and clashing flavors. I can’t tell the difference between this and the stuff in a box from Trader Joe’s. I also refuse to subscribe to the belief that spicier equals better or authentic (Vic’s Chaat fans, I’m looking at you). Besides being lukewarm which I despise, the food seemed uninspired and bland. I like the texture of the eggplant though, but I’m queen of eggplants, after all. The sad salad in the corner was old and wilty but the chutney was surprisingly awesome because I thought it tasted kind of like potato. But really, there’s no place in this delicious world for old salad.
The naan was one of the most disappointing ones I’ve had, aside from the garlic naan purely because of the insane amount of garlic and cilantro on top. I mean, as a bread product the naan was good, but nowhere near the doughy fluffy kind they have at other places. The other naan I kept dipping back into the basket for was the Kulcha stuffed with onion. I probably should’ve held back since it wasn’t great, but I repeat, it was stuffed with onion.
I’m taking a break from Indian.