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Seema's, a second opinion

Luther | Dec 30, 201008:17 PM

Just saw the Seema's post from earlier and realized I hadn't reported on my meal there. This was in October IIRC.

I really want this place to succeed based on the entrepreneurship story and how nice the people seem. But I wouldn't recommend eating there.

As for service, I don't want to be harsh on them, firstly because the dude (large awkward guy, sloppy attire, one half of the owner couple if I understand correctly) seems to be so genuine. Secondly, service at "real" desi restaurants seems to always be awful to the point of downright strangeness from my U.S. point of view.

As for the food, the kitchen (the owner lady plus the standard issue of Spanish-speaking kitchen staff) doesn't seem to have a good grasp of flavoring, or more generally, how many of these dishes should be prepared. Our conclusion was a mix of "maybe they made this more American style to please the local clientele" and "they just don't know how to make this item."

A chaat of fruit, yogurt and tamardind sauce was fine but the fruit (mango, apple, banana, maybe something else) wasn't any good, with very hard apple and unripe mango. I enjoyed the chaat masala/banana combo.

Naan... they don't know how to make naan. I'd bet that it was made with pancake mix or something resembling that (short flour, shortening, egg, bit of sugar, chemical leavening). There was no gluten and the outer crispy layer was not the right type. Also the char tasted of burned sugar, not properly charred bread. No idea if this was a last-minute emergency measure or if their regular naan works like this.

Bhindi masala would have been a great U.S. restaurant dish (if way too oily for that schema). Lots of soft caramelized onions, small slices of okra, very subtle flavor, attractively presented on a big white plate. But the absence of any actual masala meant it didn't really fit. This was a theme.

Nihari was about 3 large chunks of boneless braised meat, again with a subtle rich flavor, something you'd want to eat with a pile of mashed potatoes or spaetzle or something. Not identifiable as south Asian food really.

My favorite dish by far was the lamb biryani, which had a good amount of flavor in the meat and the rice. But! The rice was regular medium-grain rice, not basmati. It was like eating caribbean yellow rice or something... but not yellow.

We left very confused and hopeful that a loyal cadre of locals with a taste for something a little different from typical suburban food will keep this place going until they learn how to run things properly.

EDIT: Waiter guy was not Pakistani. Based on the other post I guess he was just filling in?

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