Well, Nab, you and those following you have really done yourselves proud with this discovery! A Southern Indian(and in this case, also Sri Lankan) restaurant is a rare thing in New England, and for those of you who have long wanted to take the 1 hour drive to Meena's Kitchen in Nashua, that is no longer as important as it once was. Biryani Park is the real thing. A very large diverse menu of really well prepared South Indian and Sri Lankan (both = vegetarian) foods, with some Chinese influenced Desi dishes and Northern Indian (=non-vegetarian)standards whose preparation can beat out many of the other versions in Boston. We brought a crowd to this brightly painted former deli/convenience store, and we departed with full and very happy bellies.
We did not have one bad or mediocre tasting dish , and every plate was unique in seasoning. Service was as welcoming and friendly as can be, the chef himself serving some things and popping out excitedly to answer questions. The smiling Sri Lankan owner is a BC girl who went from Financial Manager to restaurant owner in a bid to bring great South Indian food to Boston. Her American Irish husband is busy teaching at Harvard and Biryani Park is her baby, open only 2 mos.now. I hope she will have some energy for the interior soon (definitely on the ugly dumpy side) but the food definitely keeps your eyes on your plates anyway (i.e. don't look away too long or there might not be any left when you look back!)
What we can highly recommend:
--Massachusetts Special Rava Dosa , a creation of this chef, is a great big rava dosa filled with a BUNCH of stuff in different quadrants, including varied spice mixtures, nuts, lentil and potato mixtures. It's messy but we loved every bit.
--Rava dosa with Potato Masala- rava dosa are my favs; their batter includes semolina and they have a lacy crunchy texture.
-- Podi Dosa is a regular rice/lentil dosa but coated inside w/ a tasty dry spice mixture.
-- Both the Sambar and Coconut Chutney served on the side of the various dosas- are terrific versions.
--Uppama- thick fermented lentil and rice batter pancake with choice of toppings. This is one of my standards and it was terrific here.
--Eggplant Curry (normally comes with the Lamprais dish, available with advance order) creamy and complex layers of flavors, including peanut paste.
Indo Chinese Desi dishes:
--Chilli Chicken- Sweet and Sour Chicken w/o the gloppy syrup sauce
--Chilli Mushrooms- Basically Sweet and Sour Mushrooms (though the menu describes them as sauteed and w/ soy sauce!)w/o the gloppy syrup sauce
--Lamb Korma- better than any i've had. very fresh and non greasy, with a subtle distinctive fennel flavor.
--Lamb Biryani- melt in your mouth lamb chunks in a rice mound of complex flavors.
(While we didn't order the entrees, I tasted both the tikka masala sauce and the chick chettinad sauce. Both were v good but i have had better of the former at Tanjore and Namaskar.)
They have removed from the menu (weren't getting enough orders) a number of my fav things including medu wada (ground lentil donuts), pesseratu, and pongal, but if CHs started requesting them, i bet they would put them back on the menu.
The Wattalappum dessert was such a major treat. Somewhat like a very dense unctuous flan with a deep brown sugar coconut taste.
Keep in mind that even with the vast array of dishes we chose, there are a greater number that we did not try. Yet. (See many of them , including special Sri Lankan dishes, described in the link below.)
The owner said she considered opening in cambridge or somerville but saw parking as a major problem. If she were there though, this place would be packed non-stop. I hope word will spread quickly about the great food here and bring the supportive throngs.
note: I would have included this in Nab's great discovery thread on Biryani Park but I wanted Southern Indian and Vegetarian to be in the thread title for Search purposes.
Here's the extensive original thread:
18 Eliot St, Cambridge, MA 02138
105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148