Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mimi's Kabob - Ellicott City, MD,

Mimi’s Kabob is an Afghan bistro that just expanded in the spring of 2014 to cover both Clarksville and the new Turf Valley site. My friend Ahmad raved about how authentic it is and offered to take me to the Turf Valley location, so naturally I accepted the invite (a food blogger never says no to a food excursion). 

Mimi's Kabob has a quaint interior packed with exotic decorations and patterns. It's a nice juxtaposition to see all this ancient culture showcased through the various items/artifacts alongside modern televisions and a soda machine.

If you're discouraged from the bistro by the seemingly small exterior, don't be fooled. The eatery has enough room for a plethora of tables, chairs, and booths. It's a shame that Mimi's Kabob has all these seating choices and cool interior decorations, but it seems that most people order take out rather than dine in (I prefer to dine in).

Kofta kabob

Ahmad selected the kofta kabob - flame broiled seasoned ground beef on skewers, salad, rice, and yogurt chutney. He liked how the kabob had a mild kick and smoky tang to it. When asked to describe the meal in one sentence, he replied: "it was an awesome blend of a tender texture mixed with a succulent flavor." He even gave me a small taste to review, and I have to say, he took the words right out of my mouth.

Lamb kabob

Craving lamb? Look no further to be satiated, the lamb kabob does the job perfectly - flame broiled marinated chunks of lamb, rice, salad, and yogurt chutney. I also really appreciate how moist the chunks of lamb were: bursting with juicy goodness on the inside as well as the surface. I only have a small gripe with the entree, I would've liked more salad and less rice (a more even ratio than the 75% rice and 25% salad given).

Tandoori bread

 The tandoori bread came with both of our orders and it is addicting to say the least. If you are as hungry as I was, you'll have a difficult time stopping yourself from consuming more and more of this delicious bread. The best part about this side is that it is always made fresh; it's prepared and cooked in the kitchen every day.

Overall, I would definitely return to Mimi's Kabob. Compared to some other kabob restaurants in the area, it stands out by having reasonable prices ($10-$20 range) for big portion sizes, an aesthetically pleasing decor, and a cozy atmosphere. I guarantee that you won't leave Mimi's Kabob feeling unsatisfied and famished, but rather, feeling content and wanting more.  

- Thomas 

Mimi's Kabob Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sneha Indian Cuisine - Catonsville, MD

2 Dudes Who Love Food finally take on Indian food at Sneha Indian Cuisine. The restaurant opened up last June and has been featured in the 50 Best Restaurants for the 2015-2016 year in Baltimore Magazine. Charles and I are not too familiar with Indian cuisine, so I invited my friend Vignesh.

The establishment is essentially one large, spacious, and dimly lit room. There's a candle on each table to compensate for the darkness, but the thick closed curtains in tandem with the overall dull light fixtures eclipse the brightness of the candles; the lighting remains faint.

The owner, Ravi Kuriseti, walked us through the menu and informed us, based on the spiciness and sweetness of the dishes, about which items we would prefer. According to Mr. Kuriseti, the crispy kale chat and kabob appetizers are very popular among customers, so that's what we selected for our first course.

Crispy kale chat

The crispy kale chat is comprised mostly of kale, tamarind, ground flour, and yogurt. This dish is very unique to say the least. The crispiness of the kale combined well with an extremely sweet sauce- intensely out of this world savory when it first hits your tongue but not sugary sweet. I would definitely get this unique appetizer again and recommend that any newcomer to Indian food order it as well.

Paneer tikka 
The paneer tikka (kabob appetizer) contains mostly paneer, onion, tomato, green pepper, and yogurt. In case you were wondering, paneer is a type of acid-set and unaged cheese common in South Asian cuisine. At first I was mislead by its taste into questioning whether it was some sort of meat (thick, hardy texture and taste could be comparable to a bland type of meat). However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the aforementioned facts about it from my friend. Overall, I believe that it's a great meat alternative but not my cheese of preference.

Chicken tikka masala

 I selected the chicken tikka masala for my entree - mostly consists of boneless chicken, cream, fenugreek, and tomato. Besides the abundance of flavor in every bite, the best part about this dish was the creamy and rich sauce. Even when I had no more fork-tender chicken left to eat, I dipped the naan in the sauce to just savor the sauce another time, and again, and again (always wanting more from that last bite). My only gripe was that the chicken tikka masala ratio of sauce to chicken was about 3:1. Although I loved the sauce, I would have rather had more chicken.

Paneer makhni

Vignesh tried the paneer makhini (mostly paneer, cream, and tomato). Vignesh concurred with me about the creamy factor and added that it was not too spicy, but just right for this type of dish. By the way, if the entree I ordered and the one Vignesh ordered looks the same, it is because they have similar ingredients.
The naan was delicious!

Navratan korma

Charles selected the navratan korma (mostly mixed vegetables, cashew, yogurt, adn mace). Much like Vignesh and my dish, it was spicy creamy. However, Charles emphasized that it was too spicy. Vignesh and I had a taste and dissented with his statement. So, if you're not that into spicy cuisine, I wouldn't order this. In addition, Charles wanted a more thick texture instead of the more or less soupy nature of this dish. On the bright side, Charles enjoyed how he couldn't distinctively taste the cashew, but how its flavor influenced the entire meal.

For dessert, we all shared the rabri. For such an amazing dessert, it has only two ingredients: milk and sugar. Like that wasn't special enough, the process of making a large vat of it takes almost half a day! The time put into this delicacy really shows as you can taste the variations of smooth to coarse textures and everything in between (not to mention the incredible sweetness).

If you're familiar with Indian cuisine or want to broaden your palette, I strongly suggest trying Sneha Indian Cuisine. Let me know what your thoughts are about the restaurant in the comments.

- Thomas

Sneha Indian Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato