I was originally going to meet Toolman last Tuesday for lunch at Desi Junction; but I was stricken with the stomach flu. Therefore, we met up today for lunch at the mysterious restaurant I pass each day on my way to work. The reason it is mysterious (at least to me) is the fact that it's very hard to see inside. To me, it always seems like a nightclub - brick exterior and very dark looking. Well, upon entering, I was pleased to see that it was nothing like the outside. We were greeted by an expansive dining room which resembled a White Spot to a degree.
The staff here are quite friendly, we were quickly shown to our booth and the server spent time explaining the menu to us. In addition to the regular menu, there are daily lunch specials for $9.95. The lunch special includes choice of 2 entree items, rice, choice of Naan or Roti, Raita (yogurt sauce) and choice of Ras Malai or Gulab Jamun for dessert. There are 2 special entrees every day of the week. Today's entrees were Fish Curry and Shahi Paneer (cheese in a cream sauce similar to Butter Chicken). In addition, there are 2 everyday entrees, which are Butter Chicken and Dal Makhni (pan-fried lentils). Toolman chose to have the Fish Curry and the Paneer with Naan. I had the Butter Chicken and Fish Curry with Roti.
Before I even got a chance to try my food, I picked up what I thought was a green bean and popped the whole thing in my mouth. I was thinking to myself that this was the worst green bean I've ever..... #$)#* &)#*$#)$* THIS IS NO GREEN BEAN!!! It was a hot chili pepper! I spat the wretched thing out and that began 10 minutes of pain in my mouth. I am not sure why I had such a big brain cramp; but I will actually look at my food before I eat it next time. Anyways, 10 minutes later, I continued eating my meal.
The butter chicken was pretty good, the flavours were quite mild and the chicken was very tender. However, I thought that this version of butter chicken was quite rich. I know it is supposed to be rich, but this one seemed to have more cream (some versions don't even have cream). The fish curry was mild, even though I asked for spicy, either I really like it spicy or the pepper could've killed my taste buds. There was a pronounced cilantro flavour in the curry and it reminded me of a Vindaloo minus the vinegar. The fish itself was quite tender and cooked perfectly. We ordered a side of garlic naan and it was fantastic. It was soft, fluffy and full of real slices of garlic. I could've eaten them plain and I would've been happy. However, I wasn't a big fan of the roti since it was a bit gummy. The main difference between roti and naan is that roti is unleavened, which may have been a factor with the gumminess.
For dessert, I choose the Gulab Jamun, which is a fried pastry ball made of cream and flour. It is soaked in a very sweet sugar syrup flavoured with rosewater. Although I am not a big fan of this particular dessert, the one at Desi Junction was a little less sweet and I managed to finish the whole thing. Toolman had the Ras Malai, which is flattened paneer soaked in rosewater-flavoured cream and topped with pistachios. BC thought it was good and it looked very mild to me. Lastly, for the purposes of freshening our breath, we were presented with toasted fennel seeds with colourful candied seeds. Overall, I thought the meal was a good value for the price. The service was excellent, the server was always very personable and she kept checking with us if everything was alright. Moreover, the restaurant is very clean, including the washrooms. Other than my own stupidity with the pepper, Desi Junction was a good experience.
- Great service
- Decent food
- Clean restaurant
- Uninviting stark, exterior
8821 120th Street