Monday, May 11, 2015
Pakistani Home Cooking at Shalimar Grill in Little Rock.
That is the sort of way good restaurants are found when there aren't people blogging and writing about these places... and, if this were a decade ago, that's exactly how you might have found it. But of course, you have me. And Grav. And Marvin and all our friends and Jon. Because it's his fault.
And what a delicious fault it is.
So first thing you need to know... do not go to Shalimar expecting an express lunch. Homer's at the other end of the same shopping center can offer you that. Shalimar is not fast food. Because I have a flexible schedule, I could afford to spend the more than an hour-and-a-half we spent inside its beige and black interior. It was a good time to do so. Grav and I caught up on stuff from being apart a few days, compared notes, talked about our upcoming assignments. That was good.
Third thing to know... because it's not an American-Pakistani restaurant, rice doesn't come with everything. That's a custom we have here, but isn't everywhere. Rice is a dish. You can have plain rice or vegetable rice or a biryani, but you order it separately. While we were dining, there were three men who came in and ordered just biryanis and they were HUGE. The biryanis, not the men.
Fourth thing to know... and this is where we get to what we ate... tea is served cold, not iced. I like that, actually. Grav's eyes widened when we were brought our glasses, but I dug it. Our southern culture of iced tea (usually sweetened) is an American thing... cold beverages aren't served iced in a good number of cultures.
A while later, once we'd caught up sharing our notes about the storm and what's been going on with our families, our breads arrived. He had chosen garlic naan, which was plenty garlicky in itself with large, visible pieces of garlic on the surface. It came with a creamy white sauce that bore a striking
I wanted paratha bread, and went for the Aloo Paratha, tiny chunks of spiced potato baked into sheets of whole wheat flatbread, served with a sauce similar to sour cream. Grav pronounced this addictive. We quickly learned to pick it up by folding it over first, to keep the potato from falling out.
Our rice came a few minute later... a vegetable
Which is where I come back to Jon... since, as we were talking with the manager, he mentioned how people kept coming back in groups after coming by themselves. And when he described our tall friend Jon, we knew EXACTLY who to blame for us finding this place. Thanks, Jon. We have a new addiction now.
9700 North Rodney Parham
Little Rock, AR 72227