A group of 6 hounds went to Bangladeshi restaurant, Gharer Khabar (5151 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207) yesterday for lunch.
It was overall very enjoyable. We have had other threads on Gharer Khabar before, but just for some background: It is a small place in a strip mall that mostly has other Bangladeshi shops. Ghar (ghor) means home, -er is the possessive, and khaabaar means food, so the name of the place means something roughly like "Home Cooking."
We started out with two Bengali chaats: chotpoti and foochka. Chotpoti is a mixed chaat made with crunchies, green chiles, tamarind sauce, onions, cilantro and a base of yellow peas ghugni. This was pretty good, although it could have had more crunchies in it. The foochka is the Bengali version of pani puri/gol gappa and was also stuffed with yellow peas and served with a tamarind sauce that one fills into the puri shells before stuffing the whole thing in one's mouth. The tamarind sauce was perfectly seasoned, so that was enjoyable.
Everyone liked the mughlai paratha, which seemed to be a white flour flat bread stuffed with meat, egg, and seasonings and pan fried. I have never had anything like that before, and it was quite good. Very different from the style of paratha I am used to. We ended up ordering two rounds of this since it was so popular at the table.
We had a Bangladeshi style goat biryani. The goat meat was very tender and the rice was nicely studded with red-fried onions. The bone-in goat pieces I got had good marrow in them, too. This style of biryani's flavor is based on fried onions, whole and ground garam masalas, and the meat itself, (no tomatoes, either) and doesn't have a discernible gravy paste mixed in the rice like some other regional styles of South Asian biryani.
We ordered several types of "curry" dishes, including "roast chicken" (I think this is what it was called on the chalk board menu? I think it is called chicken bhuna in Bengali) which was a chicken in a dry clinging red-fried onion based masala gravy---this was stellar and we ordered a second plate of this later, plus I ordered some to take home for my husband's dinner.
There was also a delicious fish curry. It was rui maach (a type of South Asian carp species) in a light gravy with potato and cauliflower, a classic Bengali style fish curry. The fish was mild and tender.
We had a beef curry which didn't really stand out to me, but the other diners enjoyed it. It was just tender cooked beef chunks (bone-in) in a tomato-onion gravy.
We had a simpler channa daal dish, which was plain, but complimented all of the spicy food.
And lastly, on a whim I ordered a shutki dish...shutki is a dry fish preparation that is quintessentially Bengali, but very fishy and not everyone's cup of tea. It was very, very fishy, as dried fish preparations tend to be. As a dish it was well made. The dried fish was in a dry masala with kochur loti, which upon googling, I discovered means taro root stem vegetable.
The service was friendly and our group was offered complimentary milky tea after the meal. They don't have any desserts or I would have surely ordered some of the famous Bengali sweets for everyone to try, too.
Overall the food here is well made, simple homestyle food, just as the name of the restaurant suggests.
Thanks to Steve for organizing this lunch.
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