Punjabi By Nature Hound Meet Up Report
Nine hounds met this Saturday afternoon at Punjabi By Nature in Lottes Plaza shopping center in Sterling. It was a good meal.
The restaurant is located on the far right side in the back of the grocery store next to some East Asian eateries. It is a moderately priced place (though not especially cheap considering the set-up) and is definitely casual and family friendly.
We ordered every chaat item on the menu and enjoyed a sampling of nicely seasoned, hot and tangy crispy crunchy chaat delights. All items were decent. We also tried the fresh, crisply fried potato samosas.
I most enjoyed the pao bhaji (pan seared buttered bun served with spicy vegetable-potato mash).
We also tried the goat curry with garlic naan. The goat curry is a weekend specialty. It was hot but not overly fiery, and tasted good. It was basically bone in goat served in a tomato based masala gravy.
The star of the meal were the parathas, a Punjabi By Nature signature menu item. These tasted like Indo-Pak street stall Punjabi parathas. We tried the potato-onion as well as the egg stuffing. The fried egg paratha was exceptionally good, and I have never seen this on a US Indian menu---this is exclusive street-food fare, so it was a great treat to have them and have them well made. The parathas came with in-house carrot achaar, raita, and an extra pat of butter.
I'd go back just for the parathas, if not for a chaat fix.
Your assessment was right on, fatima. Parathas (stuffed bread) were served with butter to spread and a tiny amount of a the mild carrot achaar (a new term for me!). This looked spicy but wasn't. These were the star of the meal.
Next I liked the samosa with its freshly hot and crunchy wrapper that gets high marks. Well above what I'm used to in the area. Also, this was the only thing we ate with some real kick to it.
The chaat were somewhat soggy. The goat curry was ok. Goat not particularly flavorful.
Overall a good stopover while shopping at the enormous Lotte.
Best thing about the meal was the company.
The most distinct item was the salty lemonade drink with mint, cumin, black pepper, and black salt which resulted in the sulfur odor. I did a little research, and found that in Northern India this "Jal-Jeera" is a popular refreshing summer drink. With the mint I think they may have added minced cilantro leaves.
I thought the food was good. I also thought the chaat was good, not stellar. The chutneys and sauces that came with them were flavorful. All the breads were tasty and fresh. I thought the goat curry was very good and I would encourage others to get it. I wasn't sure if it would taste gamey like lamb can, but it had good curry base. I could happily make a meal of the curry base and rice.
I would also like to try or hear reports about the regular food items.
We also got sweets at the sister place in the front of the store, Evergreen. We got besan ladoo, coconut barfi and chocolate barfii. Barfi is essentially condensed milk and sugar. Again, they were OK, but lacked the flavor and texture I was seeking. Next time, I would skip that..
I'd give it a solid 6 or 7 out of 10. I would eat and enjoy if I were there but perhaps seek out other choices for an actual destination meal
We hope to meet again..