Malik recently tipped me that Lahore Karahi seemed to have revived. And, indeed it has been open under new management for two weeks. I had not tried the original incarnation but remember what the interior looked like. Version 2.0 had been cleaned up with new paint, carpeting, and furniture. While a large sign says self service, order and pay here, if you eat in, table service is provided.
Seekh kabab (2 pieces for $4) is made from finely spiced juicy lamb. Its served on a sizzling platter with freshly sliced white onions that soften from the heat and a lemon wedge.
The chickpeas in the Lahore chikkar choley, $4, are mostly crushed and pasty stewed with tomatoes and with some still whole and very soft. Large whole spice pods dot the bowl, but the actual taste is quite subtle and ultimately, not that interesting. It also seemed to have little grease or added fat.
The Afghani naan, $3, baked in the tandoor and stuffed with raisins, nuts, soft white cheese, whole anise seeds, and dried cherries has a sesame seed and parsley coated poofy bubbled crust. It didnt match either of the other two dishes, but I loved it on its own.
The desserts are housemade, and the kheer, $2, is excellent. My server brought me a complimentary serving as a first time customer. Its thick and richly creamy with irregular broken rice that has been pounded by hand. I also liked the mango lassi, $2.50, for its high pulp ratio and refreshing tang.
I overheard my server tell another party that haleem and nihari would be available. I then asked if the chef was from Lahore. She shyly said that they were Gujarati, but knew how to make all the Pakistani and Punjabi favorites. Hearing this, I urged her and later the chef to offer some Gujarati specials. They seemed shocked but pleased by this request, but I hope the seed of an idea was successfully planted.
Zulfiqar Guddu Haida, owner/chef
612 OFarrell St.
Open Tues-Sunday, 11am-11pm
Cash, Visa & Mastercard, $10 minimum for credit cards