There's an Indian restaurant on Essex Street named Khushie that received a glowing review in the Village Voice a few years ago. I've always meant to try it and last night I did. The reviewer heaped special praise on one particular dish. (photo below) Here's what he said. "Soaring like a condor is chicken kali mirch, a stir-fry of poultry tidbits in a light creamy gravy shot with black peppercorns, producing a mouth-burn quite unlike that caused by chile peppers. According to Amal Naj in his landmark book Peppers, the use of black pepper in this manner probably indicates a recipe that predates the introduction of chiles to the subcontinent by the Portuguese in the 16th century. History aside, chicken kali mirch is one of the most exciting Indian dishes I've had in a long time."
A charming woman took my order, and we chatted about the various cuisines of the vast subcontinent until my order arrived. Keen with anticipation, I took a taste. It was a big gloppy glop of gooey starch with half a shakerful of ordinary Kmart-quality stale black pepper thrown in. And a few chicken pieces too. I've had better food. I and the reviewer obviously have different tastes in food. De gustibus non disputandum, I guess.
Question: is my experience typical, or did I just come on a bad night?