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Finally! Southern Indian Vegetarian Glories Come to Boston: Biryani Park in Malden

Well, Nab, you and those following you have really done yourselves proud with this discovery! A Southern Indian(and in this case, also Sri Lankan) restaurant is a rare thing in New England, and for those of you who have long wanted to take the 1 hour drive to Meena's Kitchen in Nashua, that is no longer as important as it once was. Biryani Park is the real thing. A very large diverse menu of really well prepared South Indian and Sri Lankan (both = vegetarian) foods, with some Chinese influenced Desi dishes and Northern Indian (=non-vegetarian)standards whose preparation can beat out many of the other versions in Boston. We brought a crowd to this brightly painted former deli/convenience store, and we departed with full and very happy bellies.

We did not have one bad or mediocre tasting dish , and every plate was unique in seasoning. Service was as welcoming and friendly as can be, the chef himself serving some things and popping out excitedly to answer questions. The smiling Sri Lankan owner is a BC girl who went from Financial Manager to restaurant owner in a bid to bring great South Indian food to Boston. Her American Irish husband is busy teaching at Harvard and Biryani Park is her baby, open only 2 mos.now. I hope she will have some energy for the interior soon (definitely on the ugly dumpy side) but the food definitely keeps your eyes on your plates anyway (i.e. don't look away too long or there might not be any left when you look back!)

What we can highly recommend:

Dosa:

--Massachusetts Special Rava Dosa , a creation of this chef, is a great big rava dosa filled with a BUNCH of stuff in different quadrants, including varied spice mixtures, nuts, lentil and potato mixtures. It's messy but we loved every bit.

--Rava dosa with Potato Masala- rava dosa are my favs; their batter includes semolina and they have a lacy crunchy texture.

-- Podi Dosa is a regular rice/lentil dosa but coated inside w/ a tasty dry spice mixture.

-- Both the Sambar and Coconut Chutney served on the side of the various dosas- are terrific versions.

--Uppama- thick fermented lentil and rice batter pancake with choice of toppings. This is one of my standards and it was terrific here.

--Eggplant Curry (normally comes with the Lamprais dish, available with advance order) creamy and complex layers of flavors, including peanut paste.

--Coconut Rice

Indo Chinese Desi dishes:

--Chilli Chicken- Sweet and Sour Chicken w/o the gloppy syrup sauce

--Chilli Mushrooms- Basically Sweet and Sour Mushrooms (though the menu describes them as sauteed and w/ soy sauce!)w/o the gloppy syrup sauce

--Lamb Korma- better than any i've had. very fresh and non greasy, with a subtle distinctive fennel flavor.

--Lamb Biryani- melt in your mouth lamb chunks in a rice mound of complex flavors.

(While we didn't order the entrees, I tasted both the tikka masala sauce and the chick chettinad sauce. Both were v good but i have had better of the former at Tanjore and Namaskar.)

They have removed from the menu (weren't getting enough orders) a number of my fav things including medu wada (ground lentil donuts), pesseratu, and pongal, but if CHs started requesting them, i bet they would put them back on the menu.

The Wattalappum dessert was such a major treat. Somewhat like a very dense unctuous flan with a deep brown sugar coconut taste.

Keep in mind that even with the vast array of dishes we chose, there are a greater number that we did not try. Yet. (See many of them , including special Sri Lankan dishes, described in the link below.)

The owner said she considered opening in cambridge or somerville but saw parking as a major problem. If she were there though, this place would be packed non-stop. I hope word will spread quickly about the great food here and bring the supportive throngs.

note: I would have included this in Nab's great discovery thread on Biryani Park but I wanted Southern Indian and Vegetarian to be in the thread title for Search purposes.

Here's the extensive original thread:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796559

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Tanjore
18 Eliot St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Biryani Park
105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

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  1. Thanks for popping that up--it sounds like exactly the sort of place I want to go to. And not too hard to get to from where I am.

    1. i trust the ambiance wasn't too much of a depressing-hole-in-the-wall-cum-grocery-store for your taste!

      9 Replies
      1. re: nasilemak

        the outside is joyful but the inside is pretty gross.
        < I hope she will have some energy for the interior soon (definitely on the ugly dumpy side) but the food definitely keeps your eyes on your plates anyway (i.e. don't look away too long or there might not be any left when you look back!)>

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          I have to weigh in here. Obviously "gross" is in the eye of the beholder but although not fancy in any respect this place met my standards, with no reservation, to feed my pregnant wife, two year old, and
          myself. It is great.

          If there ever was a chow hound worthy place this is it, in our opinion.

          1. re: drbangha

            yep,absolutely great food, as should be rather clear in my long review of accolades above.Really, I can't see why people have a problem with my wishing a restaurant looked as good as its food tasted. I WANT BP to succeed; otherwise why would i spend the time raving about them? and i do believe that the time spent creating an attractive eating environment- pays off with more customers. It really just does not take alot of effort to make a place attractive. They made BP festive outside; now they need to make it nice inside. not brain science; just common sense. So glad you loved the food too, and hope you'll have the time to add your fav dishes to this thread.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Similar issues for both MH & BP for you. Plenty of places in densely built CT do too - maybe even more so. MH & BP are really hoping for increased business in their suburban locations. Absolutely loved the food & had bend-over-backwards, friendly service at Moroccan Hospitality & Biryani Park. Both were scouted out beforehand &, thus, we were able to preorder dishes that might not have otherwise been available - something we often do if there might be signficant prep time involved. Atmosphere at both was fine, what we expected & did not in the least bit affect our experience.

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              Moroccan Hospitality Restaurant
              188 Salem St, Malden, MA 02148

              Biryani Park
              105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Sorry, frankly I did not even notice you were the OP, and think it is an excellent review. I only take issue with the word "gross" which to me comes with an implication of uncleanliness. Reading your two posts together, I am sure that is not what you meant.

                1. re: drbangha

                  Happy to report that the ambience has greatly improved: colorful tablecloths, wall decorations etc. Food and people still top notch.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    It got a great writeup in Tuesday's Globe (Cheap Eats of the week pick), though they go out of their way to emphasize the Sri Lankan aspects of it rather than the Indian.

                    Link here (though you might need to be a Globe subscriber to open it): http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/...

                    A quote on the background of the place:
                    "[Owner Premila] Mathews left her job as an executive at the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche to open the restaurant in June. She invited “all the old Sri Lankan ladies in Boston’’ to consult with head chef Veera Muthu on the best preparations of traditional dishes. Prior to his arrival in Boston, Muthu honed his skills at the Marriott in Hyderabad, India’s IT outsourcing capital, and then as a chef (he admitted reluctantly) for Carnival Cruise Lines. General manager Kanupriya Goel was working as an architect. The three bring a level of sophistication to the service, and menu, that is quite unexpected at a place that also sells Crunk grape energy drink."

              2. re: drbangha

                I would definitely not call it gross by any stretch of the imagination.

                1. re: Karl S

                  now that they have fixed it up, it isn't yechy any more

          2. While the restaurant sounds fascinating and the menu is tantalizing, I find it curious that a South Indian and Sri Lankan place would name itself after a basically North Indian dish.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FoodDabbler

              FD, see my post on this thread that answers your naming question:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796559

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              1. The original comment has been removed