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bad lunch at deshi biryani

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finally stopped by after hearing about this place for ages. ordered the lunch special of goat payaa. very slow service. started out with a terrible salad of sliced lettuce with the worst, sweet "french" dressing. then, after a long pause, the goat came. it was a substantial portion of goat bones, with almost no meat, in a nicely braised sauce/base. and a basket of good nan. all in all, a serious miss. bad salad, slow service, and no meat in the goat dish. also, the people at the next table had to send back their tandoori dish because the meat was cold. what exactly is going on, or not going on in the kitchen here?

and why go back?

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  1. salad at an indian place is going to be hopeless - I would never expect anything - you would never see this at all in india except in very upscale places catering to westerners - and they do like bony meat, but looks as though were careless/uncaring about getting you pieces with meat on them. Might have been worth being assertive and asking for some more, .Id say if the sauce and naan were good you describe a situation you could be happy with if youd gotten some meat, right?

    1. Paya (pron. paa-yaa) means trotters, considered a delicacy by many people, who sit there slurping and munching on the bones contentedly. If you knew this (or asked), and liked eating legs, then you might not think it was bad given that the nan and sauce were good. I am not trying to defend the place - I have never eaten there and the one time I have gone in the biryani was not ready yet and the menu generally did not seem to be very exciting. However, I do think it is completely unfair to give the place a bad rap based on the fact that you had no idea what you were ordering and did not bother to ask.

      1 Reply
      1. re: elbev

        don't be so sure i didn't bother to ask. i might not have known the details of the dish, but i did ask and the language barrier made impossible even the question of "what is the difference between the goat curry and the goat paaya?" and for your info, they spell it paaya on their menu. and even for trotter, my dish was more akin to 'no meat' than 'very little meat.' also, i didn't order the salad. they just brought it.

      2. Goat payaa is supposed to be almost all bone... I don't like Deshi Biryani and had an embarassing meal there where I brought some Bengalis, but goat payaa is supposed to be trotters/lower leg areas of goats aka very little meat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JFores

          Spelling aside, you shouldn't expect much meat on paaya. The dish is different from goat curry because the sauce/gravy is somewhat gelatinous from the cartilage/tendon/tissue of the paaya. As someone pointed out correctly, people enjoy paaya for the slurping and sucking, not the meat... think chicken feet for the chinese. If meat is what you want, look for goat curry, gosht or boti on the menu.

          Expecting decent salad at an Indian restaurant is like expecting a decent taco in a Polish restuarant.

          If you happen to go back, and another item you order is sub-par, well then maybe this place really isn't so great after all.

        2. Also, the food and service seem to be better there in the evening, when the owners (who speak perfectly acceptable English) are around.

          With whatever flaws it may have it's still one of the best South Asian restaurants in that area. Next time you should order one of the Indian/Bengali appetizers, like the aloo chop that I've always enjoyed.

          1. Actual "paya" spelled the way most Indian or Pakistani's would is usually a breakfast dish - made of feet (or trotters) - it is should consist of mainly feet bones and the sinew, connective tissues, and some marrow and usually light, watery gravy that make this such a delicacy in the Subcontinent. A lot of slurping, sucking and gnawing goes along with this dish. It is nothing like a goat curry - too bad the language barrier got in the way.

            I do not actually enjoy Deshi Biryani myself - prefer others in the neighborhood.