The recent Chowhound debate about the quality of Bhabi's kitchen aroused my curiosity about this small but cheerful storefront restaurant on Oakley south of Devon. My wife and I decided to try Bhabi's on Friday night, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The warm hospitality offered by the owner, Mr. Syed (I think), and the excellent food combined to provide a memorable dining experience--one well worth our $29.00 bill and far superior to recent meals at Sabri Nehari, Tiffin, Hema's Kitchen, Indian Garden and a couple other Devon Ave. spots.
Mr. Syed seemed eager to explain the nuances of his dishes as well as the governing philosophy behind his menu and culinary methods. His explanations not only helped us make good menu selections, but they also provided interesting cultural commentary. Here's what we ordered:
1)Vegetable samosas: The samosa shell was unbelievably light and contrasted nicely with the spicy, earthy flavors of the vegetable filling. I really, really liked these!
2)Onion, garlic, pepper naan: While Bhabi's Kitchen offers a variety of unique (to Devon Ave.) breads, we chose a more conventional one. The naan was not only delicious--characterized by an unusually crisp exterior and a soft, chewy interior with wonderful onion, garlic and pepper flavors throughout--but also visually striking due to the color contrasts between the dough and the veggies. The naan was perfectly shaped into a disc, and looked more like a pizza than the oblong or irregularly shaped breads I'm accustomed to seeing on Devon. In any event, this was another excellent offering--the naan was by far the best I've had on Devon Ave.
3)Chilli Chicken--Incredibly tender chunks of boneless chicken served in an earthy and spicy tomato sauce. Again, the dish looked beautiful and tasted even better. Importantly, the dish was very clean--completely devoid of noticeable grease--and thus the dish's flavors were extremely pronounced and interesting. Yummy.
4)Butter Chicken--My wife ordered a boneless chicken dish in a butter and tomato sauce. She very much liked the pronounced richness of the dish as well as its subtle spiciness, and the tenderness of the chicken pieces.
5)Stewed Broccoli Rabe--Mr. Syed informed us that his restaurant is the only one in the area to offer it, as it takes six hours to prepare. This was a very complex dish, similar to a puree in texture, and presented many different flavors--notably ginger, garlic, spinach, cumin, and chilli pepper, in addition to the main ingredient. Very tasty.
Overall, I loved this restaurant--both the welcoming attitude of the proprietor and the excellent, carefully prepared food. I plan to return very soon.
6352 N. Oakley