I’ve known Keith now for something like ten years, a fact that both astounds me and makes me smile; there are moments when you experience such a jolt to realize that minutes gather and accumulate as quickly as they do. So much has changed in the course of this past decade (mostly style of dress and length of hair) but of the many things that have stayed the same, the one that remains the most constant is Keith’s unyielding fondness for Indian food. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had downed a lassi or torn into a paratha; once Keith suggested we go out for Indian, I immediately reached for my coat.
The challenge for us, though, was picking a destination. Should we head for the tried-and-true Tanjore in Havard Square? The Brookline branch of Tamarind Bay? In the end we hit the road with a meal at Arlington’s Punjab as our goal.
Straight off the bat, Keith and I decided to split a starter; I was leaning towards keeping it simple with a pakora or samosa, but was quickly talked into instead sharing the non-vegetarian platter ($10.95) because, honestly, sometimes more is more. In this case it meant not only deep-fried pakoras and meat-stuffed samosas, but also chicken baked in a tandoor and the most tender cylinders of lamb I’ve ever placed on my tongue. It was truly difficult to be fair and eat only my allotment of appetizers, but I’m pleased to say that I showed a considerable amount of restraint.
Luckily, the only person I had to share my entrée of shahi paneer korma ($8.95) with was myself, and, if you don’t mind some horn-tooting, I did a fabulous job doing so. I very graciously speared exactly half of the soft cheese cubes with my fork and politely mopped up the sweet tomato sauce from only my portion of the silver vessel with a triangle of bread.
In all seriousness, I was incredibly happy with my dish. It was both sweet and savory, and each bite had a surprising element element, whether it was the little nugget of a raisin, the shocking intensity of cilantro or the crunch of a nut. Stopping at the halfway point as I did was quite a feat. However, by doing so, I saved myself the trouble of making lunch the next day. And that I didn’t have to share with anyone at all.
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