The monthly chow dinner was at Ali's on Queen West this month.
Ali's is a super-casual place. It has tables, but most of the people were taking out. Even if you eat in, you'll eat off styrofoam. Atmosphere is non-existent, unless you like the cafeteria look. Please note that this is not a complaint. Ali's is what it is - fast, good, no frills.
Atmosphere being what it is, you'd expect fast food service, but in fact, the staff at Ali's was great! We sat at a table and perused the take-out menus, then ordered family style. One of the staffers was a great help in explaining half the things on the menu, and when our food was ready, delivered it directly to our tables, with additional explanations of what things were. It was an unexpected delight to receive such great service.
We ordered one of each of the items on the appetizer menu - five different things, plus goat and duck curries, chana, pumpkin and lots of roti. The goat curry was perfect - lean, braised until tender and nicely spiced. We couldn't identify the spices underlying the pumpkin, but we agreed they were good, whatever they were - possibly some beef broth or something of the sort, as it seemed to have that kind of mouthfeel. Both kinds of roti were excellent. I wasn't a huge fan of the curried duck, as I found the millions of little bones annoying. The goat was simply better and more convenient.
We tried a couple of different drinks (the peanut punch was excellent, sort of like a soy milk would be if it was peanut flavoured, the malti tasted good, but had an aftertaste none of us could identify or enjoy).
A meal that was $12 per person stuffed us all completely full and left leftovers. We didn't even try any of the homemade soursop and mango ice creams, though I have to admit, I was quite tempted.
Please note: I don't organize the chow dinners. If you're interested in being put on the mailing list for these dinners, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.