Sunday, February 14, 2010

I enjoyed my lunch and wrote a review of sorts...more of a blow-by-blow detail...or perhaps maybe a love letter. The quality of the ingredients was notable as was the obvious love showered on them so that they possessed such a depth of everything that is good in Indian food--flavors that transported me to a place where my palate had not been before---as if I was eating India itself. Yes, this was definitely a 'food moment'. I entered a place that I rarely visit, and when I do, I never forget it. Anyway, here it is:

I am sitting at a table in what has become my new favorite Indian restaurant. The white tablecloth is crisp, the flatware is shining, and the water goblet is filled with crushed ice and filtered water. Adorning each table is a fresh white Fuji mum. Perfect.

The fish (Koliwada tilapia) was lightly breaded in what I think was chickpea flour, and tossed with an even lighter tomato sauce, punctuated by an occasional hot pepper, and echoed savory undertones of cardamom, and was nearly floral in flavor, and quite addictive.

The firm tofu (Kadai tofu) was pan-sauteed and mixed perfectly with julienned bell peppers and onions, all of which were married with a wonderful sauce that was so buoyant in mouthfeel that it seemed to float on my tongue.

The mataar and mushrooms atop a bed of al dente perfumed rice (rice pulao) was a suiting third dish. The mushrooms were meaty while the peas were little explosions of earthiness as they burst and mingled with the light curried tomato cream sauce.

I saved my regular favorite for last...chicken tikka masala (which has now been replaced by nav ratan...get to that later). It was everything I love about Indian food and more. Smoky with beats of tamarind cream and curry. I carefully draped each bite with toasty chewy bits of buttery naan, sometimes making tiny masterpieces by topping the bites with spicy onion chutney and cooling raita. Perfect flavors intoxicated and fulfilled me. As I finished the last jewels of masala cream infused-basmati, I wondered what fantastic thing I had done to deserve such a dreamy feast. I felt truly peaceful and thankful.

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