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Jul 18, 2002 09:52 AM

Indian restaurant in Burlington, MA?

  • k

I will be in Burlington, MA on Friday and will be getting out of a work meeting around 8pm. I have been CRAVING Indian food lately (7 months pregnant, all food cravings must be obeyed!!) and would love a suggestion for a good Indian place in or very near Burlington, since I will be ravenous by that time! I've searched this board and seen some recommendations for Korean and Thai places there, but no Indian. I know that there is an Indian place in the mall food court, but that is not what I'm looking for. Can anyone help?

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  1. Just last night I had an excellent North Indian meal at Punjab, on Mass. Ave. in Arlington Center. They have a few dosas on the menu, too, if that's what you're looking for. But we had:

    Garlic naan - exceptional. A big round of bread, garlicky, buttery and slightly charred.

    Malai kofta - a little breadier than average, but tasty enough, and swimming in a delicious tomato cream sauce which we dolloped onto our bread and our rice.

    Vegetable korma - vegetables and whole cashew nuts in another creamy sauce. I guess it was comfort-food night. This dish was a little spicier than the kofta. We had requested medium heat on both; as usual, this didn't amount to much, but I didn't miss it a bit.

    My friend enjoyed her masala tea and I my rosewater lassi -- not too sweet and not too tangy -- just how I like it. I had originally asked for salty lassi, but apparently they only make that on the weekends.

    4 Replies
    1. re: C. Fox

      I agree -- Punjab has some excellent stuff. I'm amazed that someone found the food there to be "gray" in taste, but tastes do vary. I've found that medium is mildly hot, but ordering things "hot" (one notch up) will get you some good heat. Also, the cream sauces tend to mute the heat, so you might order them hotter than other dishes.

      I especially love the garlic naan, the chicken methi kedahi, the baingan bartha, and the malai kafta.

      Khushboo has a larger menu but I found the cooking to be only slightly better. A more formal atmosphere, and the service was slower the two times I was there.

      1. re: chowcat

        Yup, I am beginning to wonder about my friend's taste. Sometimes it is "right on", and others.... Last night he went to Shangri-La, because I relayed some of the comments I read here. He said the "food was fairly good, probably the best Chinese food in Belmont/Arlington and the service was good. I would characterize it as high-end non-professional cooking, very tasty but not pretty or refined or brightly flavored. For those characteristics I would look at China Cafe or one of the high-end California or Hong Kong restaurants and occasionally one of the big city China towns has one."

        I guess the main reason why I mentioned this was just to point out that not everyone is wild about the same places. And sometimes I will go to a restaurant a lot and be a great fan, and then they will have a bad day. Since I am familiar with their dishes, I will know that is atypical, but someone who happened to try it for the first time would not know that and might think it was a bad restaurant. I think that might be a benefit of hanging out here. If a lot of people have favorable comments about a restaurant, and I don't think the food is great, maybe it is a bad day--or a function of what I ordered, or...

        Back to the topic at hand, though, if you think Khushboo's service is slow, you should have gone when they first opened.


        1. re: ErstwhileEditor

          I went the first night Khushboo opened. Service was glacial, but I knew that it wasn't fair to judge them until they'd had a chance to hire fully.

          Did your friend try the preserved tofu and pork with chiles at Shangri-La? I can't see how one could think that lacks "bright flavors"!! It was bursting on my tongue.

          This may not be the case with your friend, but I have sometimes seen people go to a new place and ignore the unusual things in favor of, say, potstickers or something familiar and loved, only to be disappointed by the ordinary or mediocre version. One has to try the specialty of the house.

          Rats. It isn't even 9 am and I'm hungry for Chinese now.

          1. re: chowcat

            I'm going to have to remind myself of what he tried.... I remember turnip cake (or whatever they call it there) and Pad Thai (which struck me as a very odd thing to order at a Chinese Restaurant).... Oh yes, he said the orange beef (?) was very good. Hmm maybe I will head out the door to try them for lunch.


    2. e

      There is also Khushboo in nearby Lexington Center. My friend (who does not like Punjab and says everything there is gray--not in color but in taste!) especially likes their navratan korma and thinks it is the best he's ever had. I think it is very good. Their ubiquitous chicken tikka masala can be quite good, when it is not too spicy to taste the nuances. The first time I had it, it was excellent.... My daughter insists on getting the Mixed Grill, although I find that the various components end up not being cooked to perfection when ordered this way (and there tends to be too much sausage). They also have Shakahai Grill, which is a tandoori-grilled veggie plate. This was, unfortunately, somewhat disappointing because I was envisioning ethereal marinated veggies and thought they would be a great adjunct to the meatier dishes. Their onion naan is great, and the plain naan beats that which I have found at other restaurants (most notably Bollywood Cafe). The strawberry lassi is both unusual and delicious. As for desserts, the Doaba Kulfi was decent but very hard to eat, in part because they serve it on a saucer. Saffron Pistachio was very good, although the almond extract drowned out the other flavors.

      My only gripes with Khushboo are a) that they seem to have difficulty in calibrating their level of spiciness, and b) the little bowls of condiments seem to be recycled. (Is that even legal????)

      ErstwhileEditor, who intends to try Punjab herself and who was, with her daughter, the very first customer at Khushboo

      1. Thanks for both suggestions. My mouth is watering already!