Found ourselves in the Tenderloin on Saturday night. Thought about hitting up Shalimar again, but then I remembered that Lahore Karahi is also in the hood, and miraculously enough, I managed to find it with no directions in hand.
The place was 80% full at around 8:30pm when we showed up. The chef-owner greeted us warmly and pointed us at an open table.
We ordered Lamb Vinadloo, Bengan Bhartha, Tandoori Fish, 1 naan, and 1 onion kulcha. When asked if we want spicy, we said yes, please make it as spicy as you like it.
It took a while for us to get our food, but having read reports we were prepared for this. Thankfully we weren't starving so we didn't mind waiting. I picked up some beer from a nearby market and we drank and waited patiently.
The lamb arrived and was unlike any vindaloo we had ever had before. It was shreddy and succulent, immersed in a complex and delicious sauce. It was definitely spicy, but was also excellently spiced bursting with a plethora of flavors.
The bengan bhartha was extremely spicy. Easily the spiciest dish of the night. We were both happy and impressed with the level of spicyness. It's nice to find a place that's not afraid to bring the real heat. The dish was also quite tender and tastey.
The naan was great. Hot out of the tandoor in all its crispy-chewy glory. The onion kulcha tasted good, too, but I thought it could have used a bit more onion.
Lastly, the tandoori fish arrived sizzling on a cast iron hot plate. Flakey and tender chunks of sea bass with nicely charred edges, on a bed of lightly fried onions and lettuce. One bite and I knew it was the best Pakistani-Indian flavored fish dish I had ever laid my mouth upon. "Wow", was all I could muster up. The fish was fully flavored with lots of cilantro, coriander seeds, and fresh chilies.
Totally sated I walked up to the front and thanked the chef for all the glorious and amazing food. I asked him what kind of fish was in the tandoori dish and he told me it was seabass. He mentioned that other chefs use salmon or catfish, but that he finds sea bass to be superior in taste. As I'm not a fan of cooked salmon, I totally agreed.
He offered us some homemade kulfi, but we could not eat anymore, and so told him we would gladly take some home. We wrapped up our leftovers and after paying, the chef gave us an additional complimentary dessert of bread pudding.
Later on that night we delved into the kulfi which was creamy and superb. And yesterday we broke out the leftovers and bread pudding. The leftovers were just as good the next day, and the bread pudding was another winner.
It's really amazing how much good cheap food there is to be found in the Tenderloin. If anyone has any other dish recommendations for Lahore, I'd be glad to hear them. I think next time I might try one of the shrimp dishes.