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Punjabi Dhaba tasting

black bean can Mar 15, 2007 06:15 PM

Ate at punjabi dhaba as part of our ongoing wedding catering tasting of Indian restaurants.
I know it might not seem like an obvious pick, but our friends were interested in bracketing the low end.

We've eaten there several times before, but this was a chance to try a lot of dishes at once.

first the winners:

Chicken Tikka Masala excellent
which is interesting because:
Chicken tikka by itself was bland, in need of salt at least.
But when put in the Masala sauce it was delicious.

special chicken curry. delicious stewed flavor.

Saag paneer. good. Hadn't had it before, I think.
mix of mustard greens and spinach. Had some of the bitterness of the mustard greens.
good paneer texture.

naan. good malty flavor
pakoras extra good. had more ginger than last time I had them
samosas. good crispness. slightly spicy filling.
onion chutney -- one of my favorites

the mediocre:
baigen bhartha
overly clovey, but OK

shrimp masala -- not a great blending of flavor and texture
(the shrimp was good, just didn't go with the sauce)

the not-so-good in my opinion:

aloo mater
very bland.

tamarind sauce very sweet

chole masalawala -- kind of garbanzo-ey, which I know is what it is,
but sometimes chickpeas are rich tasting and other times they can have this wet cardboard flavor.

also we tried all of the lassi
the mango and the plain were the clear consensus winners. strawberry and guava were too sweet.

I admit it's hard to imagine the food outside of the "ambience", the bollywood videos, and the utter chaos of the restaurant experience, but I think the food will work well in a nice buffet.

looking forward to more tastings this weekend!

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  1. Luther RE: black bean can Mar 15, 2007 06:36 PM

    Wha? There's such a thing as "chicken tikka" that is not "chicken tikka masala?"

    The ambience (and the price) is the whole game at Punjabi Dhaba. Take that food out... and, well, you might be better off getting some of those ready-to-eat Indian meals from the supermarket.

    Tip: mixed platter for 2 is where it's at. You get that nice sampling of room-temperature dishes to gorge yourself on.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Luther
      b
      bliebman2 RE: Luther Mar 16, 2007 12:30 PM

      According to my local Indian restaurant that serves both North and South cuisines:
      Chicken Tikka - Boneless chicken marinated in yogurt and freshly ground spices broiled in tandoor
      Chicken Tikka Masala - Charcoal cooked chicken with special cream tomato sauce

      1. re: bliebman2
        Luther RE: bliebman2 Mar 17, 2007 01:16 PM

        When you order chicken tikka, is it the same as tandoori chicken?

    2. t
      trembler RE: black bean can Mar 15, 2007 07:16 PM

      ambience might be misused here- though the zombie dish-washer is kind of cool.

      1. a
        autopi RE: black bean can Mar 15, 2007 07:55 PM

        i dunno...i actually kind of like the ambiance...certainly more than some more "mainstream" indian places i can think of. i like the food i've had at punjabi dhaba quite a bit too.

        1. m
          mollyditty RE: black bean can Mar 16, 2007 12:11 PM

          chicken tikka by itself, if i am correct, is chicken that has been soaked in yogurt and some spices (i'm guessing due to it's red color) and is then baked. it's got wonderful and subtle flavor and is fantastic with some of the cucumber yogurt... just great simple flavors :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: mollyditty
            Luther RE: mollyditty Mar 17, 2007 01:16 PM

            How is that different from a regular tandoori chicken? (The color in tandoori chicken is artificial coloring).

          2. b
            butter_chicken RE: black bean can Mar 19, 2007 09:20 AM

            They are basically the same. Tandoori chicken is grilled whole - with bones - whereas Chicken tikka is boneless cubes of chicken grilled on a skewer.

            Tikka is a variation of the kabab but using the same marinade as tandoori chicken.

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