The past 6 months or so has seen an influx of ethnic eateries on the southeast side of the Metro area. Here are a couple of highlights.
Pakastani & Middle-Eastern
At Layton Avenue just east of S. 13th Street a couple of new eateries have opened in recent weeks including Dera Pakistani Grill, I tried a Beef Seekh Kabab, which was made from seasoned and marinated ground beef that was skewered and roasted over charcoal in a clay oven. The aromas from the charcoal in the permeates the entire place. They are now serving a lunch buffet which when I visited had delicious lamb korma and an awesome lentil soup as well as other Pakastani dishes. The baba ganoush is also impressive. They also have a handful of Chinese items, which while ok in taste, kind of have no business being on a middle-eastern buffet. Also in this strip mall is another Middle-Eastern eatery with Shawarma, falafel and other Middle-Eastern food. Adjacent to that is a small market featuring ons of middle-eastern groceries. I cannot remember the names of those places but i’ll try to get them next time I am in the area.
Earlier this year the popular Indian Bazaar (5254 S. 27th Street) grocery store added a small restaurant. The food is similar to what you would find at Bombay Sweets, hearty portions of vegetarian food at incredibly affordable prices. Everything I have tried has been loaded with flavor. The hearty samosas make for a tasty appetizer but eat more than one and you’ll have no room for your entree. Another great appetizer is the paneer pakora, which features fried chunks of paneer, a soft cheese. The tamarind chutney and the coriander chutney provide a nice contrast to the rich snack.
Moving on to the entrees, the Samosa Chat features all of the elements of Samosas (peas, onions, potatoes, and spices) but are kind of chopped up and spread out and topped with some crispy fried sev (a popular Indian snack made from gram flour). They have several dosa (a large Indian crepe-like concoction) dishes and believe me it was a challenge to even eat half of the humongous rava masala dosa, which was loaded with vegetables. If you cannot make up your mind, they offer a handful of combo plates as well. Most appetizer and entree items come with two sauces; coriander and tamarind chutney.
There is an exciting Asian food development going on in Greenfield at 27th & Grange Avenue. A former Kohl’s grocery store is being converted into a Vietnamese restaurant, an Asian buffet, and an Asian Market called Pacific Rim. The Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Viet (5475 S. 27th St.) opened about a month ago as well. The Pho was delicious as was a grilled pork banh mi, with my only complaint being that the bread kind of sucked. It was that sort of dry and crumbly variety French Bread you get from the grocery store. Improve the bread and they’ll have a killer sandwich. I have heard rumblings that the grocery store and buffet should be open by the end of this year.
There is another Vietnamese restaurant called Pho 27 (4756 S. 27th Street) that was supposed to open this summer but progress on construction seems to have come to a screeching halt. Not sure what is going on.
All said its an exciting time for those seeking a break from the chains and fast food joints that have seemed to have a stranglehold on this area.