Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines to make at home or enjoy at a restaurant. That's why, last week, I was ecstatic when Z suggested having dinner at Punjab in Arlington Center to celebrate (more on why we were celebrating later).
Punjab's interior was sparkling clean, dimly lit (in a romantic sort of way), and upscale-looking, although their prices don't reflect this decor. A cool thing about the restaurant's set-up is that they also have a large cloth tent in the center of the restaurant, with tables underneath it - the hostess informed us that's the best place to sit in the house, so we quickly grabbed a table.
While we reviewed the detailed menu, I sipped on a glass of pinot grigio ($6).
There were so many choices for what to order for food, including the usual samosas and masala dosas. However, Punjab also has many "different" dishes you don't see at every Indian restaurant here in Boston, including several goat dishes, Indian-inspired salads, and quail curry. I like how Punjab didn't overly Americanize their traditional Indian menu - it shows they trust that American diners can handle and appreciate their cultural cuisine.
Once we finally came to a decision, Z and I order the Vegetable Pakoras ($4.75) to split as an appetizer, which went well with the spicy chutney and sweet dipping sauce our waiter set on our table previously.
The vegetable pakoras were deep fried in chickpea batter, which made them extra light and crispy. The interior was bursting with Indian spices and flavors, and the accompanying mint sauce added a cool, almost tangy addition to the pakoras. I also really enjoyed the chutney with these, because it added more necessary kick to the dish.
For a meal, I ordered the Tandoori Vegetable Kebab ($11.95) which was served on a hot plate (similar to how fajitas are served at Mexican restaurants), and chocked full of a variety of vegetables cooked in exotic spices. Although I somehow forgot to take a photo (the horror!), the plate included naan and dal. I asked for it extra spicy, and the dish came just like I ordered - the kick from the Indian spices lingered in the back of my throat beautifully. The dish was also so generously portioned that I went home with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day, making this dish less than $6 per serving.
I'm so glad Z suggested having dinner at Punjab for our celebration, as the service was efficient, the food was delicious and traditional, and the prices were very reasonable. I will be going back there again - and soon.
What's your favorite restaurant to honor a celebration at?