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Minangasli Report

bladerobbins | Jan 9, 200806:53 AM

Some friends and I hit up Minangasli last night and enjoyed it very much. While by no means am I an expert on Indonesian food, it was better than any I've had in a restaurant and resembled the meals that a friend's anthropologist father who had spent a great deal of time in Indonesia used to make for us.

The atmosphere in the storefront restaurant was pleasant, and our waitress was very friendly, offering advice on a few items here and there without pushing anything.

Here's what we ate:

-On our waitress's recommendation, we began the meal with the satay combo plate - a mix of lamb and chicken satay on a bed of glutinous rice cubes; drenched in the most delicious peanut sauce I've ever tasted (I am not usually a huge fan of peanut sauce, but this was too rich and flavorful to resist). I didn't taste the chicken, but the lamb was incredibly tender and well seasoned, and I also really loved the rice cubes. My favorite part of the dish, however, was some sort of pickled vegetable, pieces of which were lurking in the lake of peanut sauce. I have no idea what they were but they were crunchy and spicy and added some tangy refreshment to this rich dish.

For our main courses we meant to split three meat dishes and three vegetarian, but we ended up with four meats when the waitress accidentally brought over another table's entree to our table. We'd already gotten halfway through it before she realized her mistake, so we got to have it on the house. What luck! The dishes were:

-Ayam Pangang - chicken w/ lemongrass and coconut milk; this was very good and tender; almost like a green curry; it was especially delicious when combined with the three types of chili sauce they brought us

-Ayam Gulai (I think) - this was the dish they brought us by accident, so I'm not sure; again very tender and flavorful

-Opor Ayam - marinated chicken in thick candlenut flavored coconut milk; this was my absolute favorite of the chicken dishes; a little bit sweet, a little salty; I really couldn't get enough of it

-beef rendang - tender, chewy, almost like a brisket (in fact this Passover I might forgo tradition, and make a rendang...); it was a real treat after all the chicken we'd been devouring

-gado gado - a salad of green bean, tofu, egg, cabbage, carrot topped with a peanut sauce; this was a favorite of the table; so many interesting textures working here, and again that peanut sauce (although cooler and thus a different consistency from the satay's sauce)

-sayur daun singkong - kale in coconut milk; this was probably my favorite dish of the evening; I thought we might get tired of all this coconut milk, but here it was absolutely sublime; the kale was really hearty and stood up against the richness of the coconut; and there was some spice in the dish that gave the milk an entirely different flavor than the other dishes; i kept pouring it on my rice even after the kale was gone

-longtong sayur - jackfruit, egg, and rice cube with still more coconut milk; very good, although not as amazing as I'd heard; the jackfruit was very similar to hearts of palm, although slightly different in texture; but again, I love those rice cubes

-for dessert we split an avocado juice, opting for the optional drizzle of chocolate sauce; this was surprisingly refreshing and not as rich as I'd feared, although it didn't really taste like avocado until the mild aftertaste hit you

-the waitress upon seeing our pleasure with the avocado drink suggested that we try the durian juice; this juice inspired giggling fits in the table; although the taste was nice (reminded us a bit of pineapple); there was something in the initial smell as you brought the glass up to sip, that was completely unfamiliar to all of us (on looking up the fruit on wikipedia, i've learned that durian is known for its "unique odor"); while the others were able to get past the smell and drink more of it; I could not; so I just kept giggling.

All in all, a great night. I highly recommend Minangasli.

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