Had a chance to try Al Noor last night with a friend - the indo-pakistani place in Lawndale. Past posts here have touted this place and Al Watan in the general area, but we have yet to visit the latter. Perhaps next time.
Al Noor is located in a semi-strip mall and while small, has about 10 - 12 tables. Upon entering we were seated and handed menus, but we sort of felt like we were getting the bum's rush to order, even though we were the only 2 people in there @ 6 p.m. We managed to order some Chai tea and Mango Lassi in order to get our very-attentive waitress to go away. The friendly owner then instructed the cooks to turn down the Ranchero music in the back in place of some more "authentic" light pakistani pop. Amusing.
We settled on 3 dishes (which turned out to be way too much food for 2 people, but we wanted to have the variety). The weekly special was Shrimp Jal Farezi which had a *terrific* tomato-curry sauce, but we found the small, obviously frozen shrimps to be underwhelming next to the sauce itself. We also ordered Lamb karami - a slightly better result (very spicy and rich with green chilis and huge chunks of tender lamb), and the Haleem (beef and lentils mashed with herbs and spice). The Haleem had the most exotic flavor and the broth was awesomely spicy and rich, almost gravy-like. Worked very well later when sopping it up with the remaining Naan, but keep your water glass handy. The Vegetable Biryani (rice) was also excellent and could stand alone as it's own course.
All in all, the meal was fine and it was a welcome stretch from basic Indo-based curries that are more prevalent around the city. As far as the initial zealous service, we noted that our waitress was leaving for the evening about 5 minutes after our arrival, which may explain the harried beginning. The owner was extremely friendly and was more than willing to elaborate on the nuances of each dish we ordered.
Recommended for those who want to step outside the box a bit.
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