Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Restaurant review, or I am so stuffed, I might explode.

The Fast Fare has been around as long as I can remember. These days it's called The Go Paks Bazaar, but it's still a convenience store. It's owned by a Muslim Pakistani family that is super nice. Beyond nice. Think of the nicest family ever. This family taught them. In the back of this convenience store, there's a little counter where you can order food, called Laziz Biryani Corner. I think it used to be sandwiches in the past. These days, it's Halal Indian-Pakistani food. In my opinion, the best in town. I am a huge fan of Asian food in general, and Indian food in specific. I am lactose intolerant, so I don't really have to worry with Asian food. Needless to say, I eat a lot of Asian food.

Don't be fooled by the fact that you are walking into a convenience store. Laziz Biryani Corner serves up serious grub. There's an older woman, around my mom's age, who's usually in the kitchen. She doesn't speak much, if any, English. She's always happy to see gringos show up. If you're lucky enough to get there when she's stirring a giant pot of something, she'll pack up a small cup of that something for you, on the house, in addition to whatever else you might get. The first time I went, she was making a batch of the mixed vegetables. She gave me a half order of the mixed vegetables in addition to the thali platter I got. I literally had enough food for three meals. They have everything, for the most part, hot in a steam table but this most certainly does not detract from the quality. It's also important to remember that this family is Pakistani. Essentially the food is more or less the same, but it's going to be a little different.

Each day they have two thali platters, one with meat and one vegetarian. Each platter comes with two half portions of something. Today, the vegetarian thali had Rajma and Eggplant and Potatoes. I've had the Eggplant and Potatoes, as a freebie naturally. It's good. I'm not 100% keen on eggplant, but this was good. The thali also comes with a small salad (lots of onions, YUM), a side of the mint yogurt stuff, and a heapin' helpin' of rice. Some of the best Indian rice I've had, in fact. It's also served with some kick-ass naan, too. So good, in fact, I usually get a few extra pieces. As equally fantastic are the mixed vegetables and the Dal. They make the best Dal. I haven't tried the meat options, but I feel comfortable saying they would be as good as the veggie options.

While I almost always get the thali, I was not in the mood for that combo today. I opted for the Shahee Paneer which I have been meaning to try forever. Man, why did I wait so long? Why, Santa, why? I ate half of my Shahee Paneer. It physically hurt me to not eat the other half. I am showing considerable restraint, you should be proud. Seriously, it was so good, I wanted to pass out. Yeah, I know I said I can't do dairy, but I still love paneer. And Shahee Paneer is love in a bowl. I've had it at Azitra in Brier Creek. It was much more yellow, a bit coconutty with chucks of tomato and a little soupier. It was good there, just different. This dish made at Laziz was amazing. Amazing. The sauce was bright reddish orange, thick, very fragrant, with lots of spices. They gave me a rice mixed with peas that was fantastic, instead of the normal red and white rice.

They seemed to be quite busy this evening. I normally get mine to go so I've never really stuck around to see how busy they get. The prices are, well, cheap. The portions are generous. It really is some of the best Indian (Pakistani) food I've ever had. If you happen to be downtown or near campus, you really ought to try it. You will not be sorry.


Debbie said...

Yes, I think I would have eaten so much I would have exploded as well! It sounds fantastic.

peewee said...

YUM! I love indian food!! Samosas!! REAL chai tea..homemade :)

oh, and i guarantee if you set up a chicken fried bacon stand with gravy dip AND fried guac...you would make a KILLING!

Meg said...

I think that too many people turn their nose up at "street food" which is a shame because this is how real people eat.

I went to Barbados a few years back. My brother and I went to St Lawrence Gap. At lunch time, local folks show up with hot trays of food in the backs of their minivans. We got two big bowls of this stew, beef, potatoes, pumpkin, dumplings, with fresh passion fruit juice. We were the only gringos there. It was so good. And it was like $5.

Never, ever pass up an opportunity to eat street food. It can be just as good as a "gourmet" meal.

Ronbo said...

Very cool, dying to check out Laziz Biryani now, it's right around the corner from me! Keep up the blogging, enjoyed the write-up...