So, I know it is completely unoriginal to write about a restaurant only days after a real food critic does a write-up of it but this review had my stomach rumbling and my head filled with dreams of dahi puri. I love the thought that somewhere out there hides a new food that I have not yet discovered. It really gets my Christopher Columbus complex in a bit of an uproar.
I go to my Zumba workout and come back ravenous and ready to devour one of our pets I was so hungry. My husband has read the review and he is down with it. When we get there we realize that Sweet N Namkin does not open for another hour but Salaam Namaste, the brother restaurant, is open. It is not a fancy place. There are no colorful decorations that one expects to find in an Indian (or Indian family) restaurant but the scent of the food has my mouth watering. There is a game of some sort on the television, there are four huge pool tables in the back. The menu is on the wall above the cash register and I don’t understand much of what is one it. I recognize a few things that I love such as Biryani, bindi masala and many chicken dishes that one usually sees on the menu at such places. I order the Tawa chicken at the owner’s suggestion and my husband orders the Bihari Beef. Of course we couldn’t eat these dishes without a side of rice and naan. And to top it off, we both ordered mango lassis.
The naan was everything the review promised it would be. Big, pillowy pieces of bready goodness. Shiny with a bit of oil, or perhaps, ghee, hot and not dried out. My Tawa Chicken was spicy, full of flavor, and had the right balance of every type of Indian inspired spice that you could think of. The owner laughingly described it as Pakastani gumbo. I was truly surprised and delighted to bite into a huge strip of fresh ginger. The Bihari Beef was a thick, beefy brothy bowl of nurturing goodness. My husband would have liked it a bit spicier but it was still delicious.
If you have never had a lassi, I highly recommend the mango lassi. Lassis are thick, creamy yogurt drinks that manage to be both tart and sweet and the mango is the perfect addition to this menagery. They also really complement the spiciness of the dishes. Kind of like sweet and salty.
Sweet N Namkin was finally open at this point so we headed next door. The woman behind the counter was very friendly and patient while she explained the difference between some of the menu items. We ordered on what we originally came for: the dahi puri.
They looked like little bowls filled with shredded wheat and topped with cilantro. White, creamy yogurt peaked out of the top, threatening to ooze out. I took a bite and was surprised by the mixture of things happening in my mouth. First there was crunchy and salty, then tangy and creamy, then sweet, then spicy. The yogurt and chutney dripped down my chin and onto to my boobs. I looked like a slob but I didn’t care; I was a happy slob.
Bellies full, lassis finished, and warm food in to go boxes, my husband and I headed home where he made sushi for dinner to celebrate our second year wedding anniversary. Somehow we managed to make room for more food later that evening. Like good little foodies.
Oh, I would like to point out that (unless I am mistaken) Salaam Namaste is actually more Pakistani than Indian food. I found the food to be very similar to Indian food with the exception of the few beef dishes on the menu. If you love Indian food, you will love this place.
Address: 10736 W. Bellfort, just off 59 S. The hours are crazy. I think they open at 9am and close at 2am most days. The day we went (on a Saturday), the Sweet N Namkin did not open until 3pm. But take note, they are closed on Mondays.