Spicy Mina - Better Than Ever
We were north of our usual Brooklyn haunts on Saturday, went to Spicy Mina for lunch and were blown away. She was on a roll. We ordered a lot more than we could eat and took it home.
Halim - This replaces Mina's samosa chaat, great as it is, as my favorite appetizer. Yellow lentils, fresh ginger, hot pepper pods, cilantro and small pieces of tough but very flavorful lamb. The depth of flavor is amazing. My wife and I could have ordered 10 servings and still not have been sated.
Mango Lassi - Freshly made, with bubbles from the blender still floating up and popping. Slightly less thick than elsewhere, but not cloying and perfectly balanced..
Chicken Jal Fry - Nicely sized chunks of mostly dark meat, fresh ginger, lots of the tiny HOT green peppers (I ordered it hot), bell peppers, red pepper flakes, tomato. Very well flavored, and really hot.
Navratan Vegetable Curry - Tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, tiny lima beans, flat pole beans, potato, carrot, onion, zucchini, yellow squash, all in rich, delectable gravy.
Aam Dal - Yellow lentils, potato, onion, cilantro, clove and flat red hot peppers. Even better than Mina's Dal Fry, with deep flavor.
Saag Ponir - Spinach, cheese, etc. We always have this, and it was great
Onion Kulcha - Nan stuffed (not too much) with onion and a little cilantro. I would have preferred more onion, but the balance was perfect.
Payesh - Soft rice pudding with chopped almonds and raisins. Complimentary.
Mina has taken to putting a couple of dried, flattened hot pepper pods in most dishes, even the mild ones, for the flavor more than the heat. It made a big improvement in everything.
The only question: WHY WAS IT EMPTY FOR WEEKEND LUNCH? She makes some of the finest food in the City and should be jammed around the clock.
Yeah it was empty. I was there at the same time, though during different hours. I love the payesh she gives out. It's better than my Bengali GF's mother's but I don't tell her that for my own sake. Her halim is excellent. I really like her halim. It feels odd to eat it when it isn't Ramadan though. I hadn't had Halim since Eid of last year so when I saw it on the menu I was like yay yay yay. Her mango lassis are OK. They're too expensive. They're basically identical to what I'd get at Ghoroa and her prices are god awfully high for Jackson Heights which Bengalis widely regard as the place they go to for cheap thing. My GF was appalled by the prices (beyond belief), but we both loved the food. The saag ponir here is the best I've ever had. Also, I like her fuska better than the samosa chat. Fuska are a very Dhaka street foody sort of thing and I think her's are pretty good. Yummy. They're way too hard to make at home to ever bother with.
Mina is never cooking whenever I go. I even called one day to ask if she was cooking that day, and the male voice over the phone said 'yes'. I got there and no Mina. The food was just OK, nothing special. This has happened more than 3 times. It is still good, not great, definitely not worth the trip out into hell.
Yeah, Woodside's lovely. It's practically in Jackson Heights and it lets me hit the street carts on my post-lunch/dinner walk. I also like the local Hispanic flavor and the fact that entire families hang out until 2am. It's lively. The mecca of New York Bangladesh is also less than 10 blocks away. 74th must have at least 2,000 jewelry stores and sari stores. Patel Brothers is also absolute f-ing amazing for deshi shopping. Also, I've never been there at a time when she isn't cooking. It has always been her, the one waiter and her one assistant. The waiter started saying see you soon, asking me how I am, etc. :) Yay :) That means I go too often :)