I decided to head out for a quick bite of take-out tonight, as my fridge is looking frightfully bare and my cupboards spartan. The Gilmore Girls would be proud.
Driving along to a place that no longer matters, i passed by Lahore. Across from the Safeway on 12th Avenue and 8th Street SW in the location that was previously Sammy's, and Calzones before that, I remebered the opening soon sign that I had noticed months ago, but always seemed poised to open "next weeK". After a long anticipated wait, I finally got to try it.
The location itself is bascially a small takeout counter with a couple stools and a table. It's clean, but i couldnt help but notice the mish-mash of equipment crammed into the small space. The pop cooler, a pizza oven (!?), a gas grill, stove, and... a tandoor oven!
Now the menu is a bit ambitious - besides 100% Halal Pakistani cuisine, they also offer donair, chicken wings, and as Kaiser told me, pizza starting next week. I can't comment on the Western elements of the menu, as i was only interested in sampling the Eastern elements.
The menu itself reminds me of take-away curry houses in London - fairly small selection, but sufficiently diverse to please a picky group. There are your traditional appetizers, samosas and pakoras, some vegetarian offerings (including my fave, Chanay), and then your kings of takeout - Kabab's, Biryani, Karahi, Tikka, and Tandoori. Wanting to order one of everything, my pocket book (and stomach) restrained me, and I opted for some Naan, a Mutton Karahi, and a Shish Kabab.
Let me start with the Naan - most takeout places have a pre-made Naan that they microwave and serve. At Lahore, the dough came out of the fridge, it was rolled, and then slapped into the Tandoor. Wow. This isnt fast, fast-food mind you, but it's well worth the wait. And at $0.99 each (and a sizeable portion at that), an excellent deal.
The Karahi was reasonable. It was refrigerated and reheated on the gas stove (instead of a microwave, thank goodness). The quality was actually quite good - the mutton cooked to a nice chewy softness, while the spices provided the 12 piece string quartet to finish off the mouthful. Nice combination with the Naan, but i couldnt help but wonder if i would've preferred the Chanay.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Shish Kabab (Seekh Kabab on the menu). Similar to Koobideh - RIP Red Saffron - the Kebab is ground beef mixed with a combination of spices and BBQ'd over the grill. The meat was pressed freshly onto skewers, and grilled for 10-15 minutes. The flavours were amazing. A complex blend of savoury and heat, the kebab was a party in my mouth. At $2.00 per kebab, it was an insanely good deal.
While the quality of the food was quite high (fresh and tasty), i was really impressed with the price. Entree's range from $3.99 to $7.99 (butter chicken), and most sides rang in between $1-$4. For under $10.00, i walked away happy, stuffed, and did i mention happy?
To top it all off, the Tandoor oven really seals it for me - it displays an attention to freshness, detail, and to quality preparation that most late night take out places usually neglect. This is not your children's fast food. This is late night dining worth getting excited about.
With ambitious hours (3am on Friday Saturday, 1am Wed, Thu), good food, and good prices, I hope there is sufficient support for Lahore to help ensure a higher standard of late night dining in the inner city.