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Jun 8, 2005 04:42 PM

Austin - Pamer and 35 - Lunch - OMFG - Rushi and Byblos - Indian and Lebanese

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I like long information filled subject lines.

Many moons (or about 1.5) ago, I asked for info on eating in the Parmer/I-35 area.

Everyone was silent. I was sad.
Then I started eating.

Two wonderful things happened. I found two restaurants side by side. I can't believe the crap some of my coworkers eats when these things are close and cheap and freakin' spectacular.

Byblos Mediterranean Deli - Small little place, northwest side of the intersection, same parking area as Hell-Mart.
I love shawarma and falafel. Their Beef and chicken shawarma plates are great. Cut off the spit just for you, heated with some tomatoes and piled on more tomatoes with some sides of your choosing. Plates are served with their version of pita (forget the name the fella told me). The beef was tender and wonderfully spice. The chicken was almost as good. I tried both a falafel wrap and a chicken shawarma wrap. The falafel was spectacular. Crispy and tender inside the wrap and they include those little pink, pickled turnips (or whatever they are). The chicken left a little to be desired. I think the french fries wrapped up inside were some sort of hangover from the days of French Colonialism. A bit odd and they didn't add a whole lot to the sandwich. I loved their tabouleh. Usually there is more bulgar in tabouli/tabouleh/tabuli than my vulgar mouth would care to eat. However, theirs is a massive pile of herbs and tomatoes flavored with a sprinkling of bulgar. Maybe not for everyone, but I liked it.

I've eaten there three of four times, and while very good, it was not good enough for me to drop everything and write a review.

Rushi: The Center For Indian Food is that good.
Holy Crap is it good. Since Bombay City (my favorite South Indian street food place) is no longer in existence, this has become my favorite Indian place.
From the propriteor holding the door for me as I entered the establishment, to the drowsy feeling I'm currently fighting from having eaten too much, it was a delight. The proprietor (a man named Rama) was willing to chat about everything from literature (he likes spiritual books) to the dams in India and the regional differences in the foods. All of the wait people were willing to share their knowledge of the foods (I was smart enough to nab a business card so I just learned that Rama's wife's name Bharathi).
Some Indian restaurants in this town, while good, are cookie cutter versions of each other with watered down flavors for American palates. Rama is attempting to cook as traditionally as possible while including foos from many different regions.
$8 for lunch can seem a little high sometimes, but today it was worth it.
The highlights:
Kadai Paneer: paneer (cheese) with onions and bell peppers and one of the most amazing spicy and smokey flavors. My favorite.
Dal Makhan...: I didn't catch the full name of this, but it was basically stewed lentils and beans with an amazing flavor.
Tandoori Chicken: Of all the tandoori chicken I've eaten all over the world, this might very well be the best. Please bear in mind that I have a very bad memory to begin with and the massive amounts of alcohol consumed while traveling sometimes leaves my memories blurred. But I can say with certainty that it is the best I have had in Austin.
Chicken Biryani: Lower on the list of the foods today, but well worth it.
Much Much More: Cabbage Curry-excellent, Eggplant curry- couldn't try it because of a late onset eggplant allergy unfortunately, Yoghurt Chicken, and more and more and more.
Dessert: I don't know if they make their own icecream, but the small scoop I dished out for myself was about as good as what I can pull from the wooden tub in my garage. Better than any crappy ass chain icecreram I've ever had. The little syrupy puffs of fried dough that I dropped on top made my heart skip a beat, but that might have just been a fat clump gettin' lodged in a valve.

All in all, I'm all gaga.
I have two wonderful places to eat near my work.
At least try them.
I think I might die if they go out of business and my only choices are FreeTurds Burriters and Johnny Carino's Italicrap.

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  1. That's very good info - I wish I worked a little closer (I'm in Parmer/620 hell). My co-workers from A&M sometimes make the trek to Freebird's. I don't really see the appeal; nostalgia, perhaps.

    2 Replies
      1. re: rudeboy

        Well, there might be something closer to you . . . I heard that a new Indian restaurant has opened up at Wells Branch. somewhere around where mopac meets burnet. maybe the same people who owned High Tech Masala? But maybe not.

        I think it's right next to this indian food store, Minerva
        3407, Wells Branch Pwy, # 775
        Austin TX 78728
        Ph 512-246-1400.

        But I could be wrong. If that's the place, the store is supposed to have killer samosas. I can't wait to check both places out. Could be a while, cause it's pretty far north for me! But that's where all the good Indian food is. Have you been to Swad on N. Lamar?

        Also, can't wait to try Rushi - thanks Sean and Chris for the tip.

      2. Good to know as I work in high-tech hell up north as well. Taco Deli has now opened at Burnet & MoPac so that's not too far away...

        1. Yesterday, a co-worker and I decided to head out of the office, being sick of the usual slop served at our corporate cafeteria. We both had coupons for Biblos which is a relatively new middle eastern place which opened up north near Parmer and Lamar. But when we pulled up we decided that it just wasn't tickling the taste buds, but, lo and behold there was an Indian place that opened up right next to Biblos. Rushi! I agree with the first poster, this place is excellent.

          From the first plate, I was hooked. It had been over a year since I had eaten at an indian buffet so, at first, I was thinking that perhaps I was enjoying it so out of sheer absence. But no. This was so much better than Taj Palace or Star of India.

          For starters, the Chutney area. they had this jalapeno chutney, excellent, and not so spicy that it overpowered the other stuff. Then onto the dishes. Tandoori chicken, while not my favorite dish, was moist and tasty. They had a spicy chicken stew which was fantastic. These tiny little chicken dumplings, very good. Then, three kinds of flavored rices, all good. A kidney bean dish with hints of coconut, sounds weird but very tasty. Saag paneer, fantastic. Special note: their Naan bread was very soft, yet still had the "charred" surface, it was the best naan bread I ever had! And to top it all off, for desert they had homemade Strawberry ice cream!

          I am hooked, I've thinking about them ever since, and will be back again this week!

          PS: Biblos is no small potatoes either, they are very good middle eastern, be careful lots of garlic!!! Make sure to chew some gum before you go back to work.

          1. You are SOO right! Introduced to Indian cuisine by my best friend, we stumbled on to Rushi's! Now (and it's a Friday night, people!) we can't get enough!

            Saag paneer is deeeeliiish!

            Try it!

            I love Clay Pit, but Rushi, you're the one I'll check with first!