Went to Phulkari Punjabi Kitchen, which is north of 11 Mile on Dequindre (27707 Dequindre Rd, by St John’s Oakland Hosp). It took over the old Indo Pak restaurant. Looks grim from the outside but inside is a big, VERY nicely styled counter service set up, where tipping at your table is optional.
I know very little about Indian cuisine, other than that I like it. Even Priya. But for what it’s worth, I find Phulkari very good, particularly for the price. I got the meat thali ($10) and a chaat ($5). Yes, I had plenty of leftovers. The chaat (1st one on menu; name =?) was constructed from extremely fresh ingredients, and clearly was put together by a chef, rather than by someone off the street. Indians always are a bit extreme with raw onions, and this dish proved no exception. But, I just scraped away some pieces and devoured the rest, including the date sauce I meticulously scraped-up with my spoon. I’m still not sure I love their chowmein-ish crispy things, but the potatoes were fantastic.
The butter chicken in thali was rich and excellent. The flavor was perhaps subdued by dairy (not in a bad way), but could be augmented upon request. It was not oily. The cubed breast meat was tender and juicy, surprisingly. Sure, bone-in thigh meat could have been better, but cubed meat has its advantages, particularly when eating out.
The lamb curry was good, but not magical like Zayeqa (though the former may in general be more consistent than the latter place). The spinach and cheese palak paneer featured a custom spice blend, making this dish all it can be. The bread and rice were fine. When ordering, I was offered several disparate choices of breads, some base and some premium. While I liked mine, I’ll probably choose another bread next time, particularly after seeing the pics on facebook. Wow! http://www.facebook.com/PhulkariKitchen
The desserts also smacked of TLC. One enabler of the care allocated to each dish is that the menu is focused, and doesn’t try to be a national food tour of India and all that country’s “greatest hits.” Closes at 6pm Sunday and is not open on Mondays. I’m really curious to get others’ takes on this place, but I warn you that you may very well run into me there :-)