Flavors, friendliness make eatery a favorite
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
After our first week of windy, cool weather, my fiancé and I were in the mood for curry. Naturally, we headed to our favorite Indian restaurant, The India Palace, on Okeechobee Boulevard between Military Trail and Haverhill Road. We discovered this gem while living around the corner. Our visits have become less frequent since we moved, but the waiters still remember our faces and treat us like family.
We were greeted by warm smiles and seated in a large booth. As always, we started with two mango lassis to drink ($3.49 each) and an order of vegetable samosas ($4.29). I discovered the lassi while traveling in India a few years back. These sweet, yogurt-based drinks are similar to an American smoothie, though not as thick. They are particularly good for cooling the mouth after eating spicy food.
Before we got to the samosas, our waiter dropped off an order of rolled pappadums, wafer-thin seasoned lentil crackers that are the Indian equivalent of bread and butter. They come with a trio of multicolored dips that range in flavor from sweet and mild to hot and spicy. I stuck with the sweet purple syrup, while my fiancé dove into the red-hot onions.
A few moments later, our samosas arrived. These hot and crispy pastries come stuffed with chicken, vegetables, or both. Ours were vegetable, mostly potato, lentils and peas, flavored with cumin. As always, they were delicious.
For dinner, I stuck with an old favorite, chicken korma ($10.99), ordered mild. The meal comes in a small, copper-colored serving dish with a candle at the base. The chicken is boneless and moist, cooked in coconut milk and yogurt sauce with cashews, spices and herbs. The dish comes with your choice of Basmati rice or two pieces of naan, unleavened bread baked in the tandoor oven. I always choose the naan, as it tastes divine dipped in the korma's rich and creamy sauce.
My fiancé decided to try the shrimp biryani ($17.99), a rice-based dish cooked with saffron and spices, garnished with dry fruit and fresh coriander. Although the shrimp were huge, he made the mistake of ordering the dish extra spicy, and it came out too hot even for his taste.
Luckily, the waiter also brought some raita, a yogurt-based sauce with onion that helps cut the spice. Between that sauce and what was left of his lassi, he was able to eat a few bites of the meal.