Saturday, January 23, 2010

Desi Dhaba, Central Square, Cambridge Massachusetts

It was a special night: Eric had just about finished his month-long job helming lights and sound at the Actor’s Shakespeare Project’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I had had something go really well at work that day.  It was Friday.  We were both ready to cast away memories of a stressful work week and eat something delicious for dinner. 

We went to Desi Dhaba, near Central Square, and we were not disappointed with what we found.  Eric got there first, and ordered a basket of plain and garlic naan.  Both breads had a wonderful chewy-crispy texture, but my favorite was the garlic naan: steaming hot bread topped with garlic and cilantro, it took the immediate edge of my hunger (I had only had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch) in a most delightful way. 

The wine I ordered, an Undurraga Chardonnay from Chili, was a comparative disappointment.  Although the write up in the wine list said it would taste like apples, pears, and citrus, with an aftertaste of vanilla, I could taste only the alcohol.  Perhaps the wine was too delicate to compete with the spiciness of the food, but if so that makes it an odd choice of wine for an Indian restaurant.  But really, who cares?  Desi Dhaba is an under $20 an entrée restaurant, so I wasn’t exactly expecting a sommelier to work with me on the best possible selection of wine.  Moral: I won’t get the Undurraga again.

The most important part of the meal, the main course, was absolutely perfect.  Eric had decided to go vegetarian with me for this dinner, and so we ordered and shared the Aloo Palak and the Navrattan Makhani.

Aloo Palak is basically a creamed-spinach-and-potatoes dish.  Desi Dhaba’s Aloo Palak boasted potatoes cooked to exactly the right consistency, and fresh-tasting spinach, and was delicately flavored with ginger and strewn with cilantro. It was exactly the right compliment for the spicy Navrattan Makhani, which was an infinitely more exalted version of all the various mixed vegetable curry recipes posted on this website.

We finished all the food while watching Bollywood movies on the wall mounted television screen in the dining room.  It was a very good meal, and we’re looking forward to going back near Valentine’s Day. 

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