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Restaurants & Bars 2

Nirala Sweets opening a restaurant (Sunrise, W. Broward)

s.m. koppelman | Jul 9, 200404:18 PM

The owners of that swell Pakistani takeout sweet shop Nirala Sweets that I've mentioned several times is opening a restaurant shortly, taking over the space in the same strip mall briefly occupied by the unlamented Slim's BBQ. And talking to one of the owners, they're planning to cater to the desi community and stay true to their regional cooking, not do the same tired "Indian restaurant" kind of thing usually found in South Florida.

Today I got a quick simple lunch of that ingenous bit of leftovers-engineering, aloo chat (not on the menu, but I'd seen someone get it before, so I asked). It was delicious, a $4 plastic plate of perfectly cooked chickpeas and bits of warm potato, fresh onion and crisp fried dough mixed up and swimming in a cool, thin raita and fiery dry spices.

It was probably the ugliest, least photogenic version of the dish I'd ever seen, basically a multicolored puddle of food on a plate, but it was also among the tastiest. The clash of hot/cool, creamy/crunchy, spicy/soothing and starchy/juicy was perfect. Eat it immediately on the spot before the flavors blend and the temperatures even out. I washed it down with a sweet cardamom-scented "ice cream flavor" soda from Pakistan.

To clear away the lingering spices, the guy at the counter offered me a fresh jalebi (what's the singular? jaleb? jaleba?), stunningly fresh and not at all chewy, better than the ones I used to get all the time in Queens. I bought some sweets to go for a friend, a couple of gulab jamun and some of those astonishing halvahs of theirs. They usually have at least eight or so kinds of halvah alone (honeyed, with nuts, floral-scented, spiced, with cheese curds...). All made on the premises.

They hope to have the restaurant open sometime next week, but who knows. If they can keep the quality and authenticity up (paaya! goat dishes! bony fish curries!) it should be quite the thing and scare the bejesus out of anyone who thinks Indo/Pak/Bangladeshi food is just samey curries and rubbery tandoori chicken.

[Nirala Sweets, around the 8800 block of W. Oakland Park Blvd. just west of Pine Island, Sunrise]

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