Sunday, March 04, 2007

Star of India

North Indian in North Austin


So it's rush hour date night and we're on our way to Threadgill's when The Woman suddenly veers off Anderson Lane. Oncoming traffic and my life pass before my eyes as we dash into a strip mall parking lot. When I inquire sweetly just what the heck is going on, she just points to a large sign: Star of India, Traditional Indian Cuisine. As an ancient philosopher once said, "Yeah, baby!" Sure, Threadgill's is nice, but it's not Indian, now is it? (Not that it should be. I'm just pointing out the facts as they lay.)

What with one thing and another, moving and renovating and getting laid off and looking for work and outlining the next novel and visits from The SpyMan and watching the entire boxed set of "Jeeves and Wooster" with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry and grandkids birthdays and balancing the checkbook and such, we haven't actually gotten around to eating at an Indian place since we got here. We did make some at home with the help of Patak's curry paste, but it doesn't even come close to the real stuff made by real Indian folk.

So we scurry in all flushed from the excitement, and perhaps the cold rain, and as one of the perks of an early dinner on rush hour date night is that we beat the crowds, we are seated immediately and reply that, yes, we will try the buffet. As if they could stop us. OK, so it looked like every other Indian buffet you've seen, only I liked the look of this stuff better. What with the new regimen, I leaned more to the vegetarian selections, which were all great. Not that I neglected the meat dishes, which were also great, I just got more of the veggies.

After sating ourselves with the first round, we asked for a menu just to see what other delightful things they might have available. It was naturally full of dishes that you can't pronounce and can't wait to eat. I flipped immediately to the vegetables to search for the magic word bhindi, and there it was.

Bhindi Masala: Okra cooked in garlic, onion and Indian spices.
Now you're talking my language! Or check this one out.
Malai Kofta Kashmiri: Sumpling of fresh vegetables and cheese cooked in a mild almond and cream sauce.
OK, so perhaps it was supposed to be sampling, but I like sumpling better. Sounds like a sumptuous dumpling and why wouldn't you want one of those? "Dear, could you pass the okra sumplings? I simply can't resist them!"

Of course we went back for seconds and blew any caloric limits we might have entertained. Of course we waddled out like Mr. Pickwick and company and scurried through the rain back to the car. Of course we're going back. As a great philosopher once said: It's not, "Why would you?" It's, "Why wouldn't you?"

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