Punjab Palace (Allston)
This restaurant showed up today on my Foodler delivery list (misnamed Punjabi Palace), so I gave it a try. I ordered malai kofta and fish biryani, both Indian hot. Shrimp instead of fish biryani was delivered, which was the only misstep with the meal. I found the food--especially the biryani--fantastic, on par with or even better than places like Kebab Factory that I already considered very good. (A couple of days ago I ordered from India Quality, which was pretty good, but not this good.)
The biryani was the star. This is my favorite Indian dish when it's prepared well, but it almost never is. Most places seem simply to mix a lot of ingredients into rice and serve it, and the dish ends up slimy, but properly made (with a second cooking) it has a dry consistency, a twice-cooked flavor, and a fascinating complexity. Punjab Palace's version was possibly the best I've ever had, full of amazing complementary flavors from the twice-cooked aromatic biryani rice, very complex spicing, fresh vegetables, and ghee. The shrimp were very good quality.
The biryani was so good to me that the malai kofta, which was actually quite good, was an afterthought. IIRC I prefer the version at Kebab Factory, but Punjab Palace's was certainly above average.
I was very happy to see onion chutney and raita thrown in gratis. Both were fabulous and unique (the refreshing onion chutney was more oily than usual, the raita had nice cooling chopped potatoes).
Seems like the restaurant scene in Allston is smoking hot.
That makes sense. The onion chutney and the complementary rice at both places are similar (and very good). I have not tried tonight's dishes at India Quality, so it could be that these are also good there. I wrote a glowing review of IQ the first time I tried it, but it didn't seem as great this week.
Thanks for this great review! BFP and I made a resolution to eat out in Allston once a week, because there are so many great places right in our neighborhood that we've never gotten around to trying. (What can I say? Finances have been super-tight and we both love to cook.) We're taking turns on who gets to choose, and it's my turn this week, and Punjab Palace was already high on my roster. I can see that we'll be having dinner there in a few days.
Of all the Indian places around, I find this one to be best all around. I think the quality of their food is Kashmir/Bombay Club par, but much less generic (like Indian Wedding food) tasting as those guys are. Very tradtional rich and tasty sauces most of which are ghee and cream free. THey are very good about making food to order, hot means hot. Doesnt hurt to order in Hindi if you know any.Vegetarian dishes are not soggy soaked oily vegetables in curry as they usually are. The Dal was ok, and ive never had the tandoori (Id be hard pressed to think you could beat Kebab Factory in Cambridge) but everything else is top notch.
re: Rahul Singh
My husband and I have been here 3 times in the past two weeks.
What I LOVED about it:
-flat screen playing killer bollywood music and dancing videos
-actually SPICY food: as said above "hot means hot"
-complimentary chai tea (the 2nd time we went)
-complimentary dessert (the 1st time we went)
We love India Quality in Kenmore, and with the same owners, this is simply a more modern version.
The music videos alon are worth a trip.
Also, I LOVE their garlic naan. So soft, so garlicky, so...AAH!