Birmingham - Chowdown III at Silver Coin Indian Grill
Birmingham Chowhounds we're meeting Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm at the Silver Coin Indian Grill on Lorna Rd. for our next Chowdown.
We'd love to have you there. Log into our Google Groups Discussion at:
http://groups.google.com/group/birmin... and let me know if you are coming!
One of the great things about this Chowdown was the chance to get to know each other a little better. The food was uniformly good -- no wine chickens this time -- and again the food came out to under $15, after trying five appetizers, four entrees and three different breads.
Two appetizers in particular stood out: Bhel puri was puffed rice mixed with fresh onion, mint (I think) and some kind of fried rice stick, served an a papad bowl. Very refreshing. I expected crunch, but I think the sauce/dressing took care of that. One of the crowd favorites.
Also high on our list was the samosa chaat. We ordered both vegetable samosa and the chaat version, and I think everyone far preferred the chaat. The creamy sauce and chickpeas balanced out the spiciness of the samosa.
We also ordered paneer pakora, which at first glance resembles fried cheese sticks -- until you bite into it and hit the spicy sauce. Very good.
Masala dosa was a huge triangle of crunchy, slightly tart rice-and-lentil crepe, perfectly sized for sharing in a large group. My only complaint is there was insufficient filling of curried potatoes, especially at that price ($7.95), but the sauce that accompanied it was very good. You don't see this South Indian specialty at the other Indian restaurants in town.
For entrees, we went with a couple of standards and a couple of dishes unfamiliar to most at the table.
Standards were vegetable biryani and chicken tikka masala. Both were well above average. The biryani was a generous portion.
We also got bengan bharta, a smoky, flavorful eggplant puree. It ended up being one of the favorites among diners. Eggplant to me is an underappreciated vegetable, and a great transition for people wanting to eat meatless on occasion or regularly. The group termed this dish the big surprise of the night.
All the above dishes were ordered mild, since some had expressed an aversion to spicy food. But we ordered a goat curry made hot -- and it was another hit for us. My only complaint was I wound up with far more bone than meat; although the bones to add to the richness of the sauce a little more meat would be nice. What meat I got was very tender and the curry sauce for this dish is spectacular. Even the spicy-averse loved this one.
For breads we ordered onion kulcha, garlic naan and whole-wheat chapati. One thing about Silver Coin: They make first-rate breads.
Silver Coin remains my favorite Indian restaurant in Birmingham, especially for the breadth of their menu that includes dishes from several regions. Indian food is one of the grand cuisines of the world.