So you may already be aware of this, Austin, but your beloved Junkies are huge fans of food from the subcontinent that is India. The flavor, the spice, the heat, it just all sings so well together. This week we decided to try a new place, on the north side of town for once! We went to Spicy Monsoon, just off of Wells Branch Parkway.
Lets start with the appetizers. We had samosas. A samosa is a fried dough pocket filled with vegetables and various spices. In this case, the samosa was filled with potatoes and other vegetables, as well as wonderful spices. This was a pretty good samosa, not my favorite in town, but worth the $1 we paid for it. The evening started off well, and the samosa certainly seemed to be bringing a hard rain of spices, a monsoon one might say. Alright, I swear this is the only time I'll make that joke.
As far as entrées go, I had the goat biryani and Matt had a behari kebab wrap. Biryani is a rice dish with meat, usually spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and various other spices. The best way to describe it is awesome chicken and rice, OK in this case goat and rice. The goat was well cooked and tender, though it was processed in the whack-a-food style, so the meat was still on shards of bone, certainly something to watch our for when you go. The rice was well cooked and the dish was well spiced as a whole, and nicely aromatic. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Behari kebab consists of thin strips of beef, sometimes served on skewers. But in this case it was wrapped in a very nice paratha, a style of Pakistani/Indian flat bread. Think of it as a Pakistani gyro. They make their own bread fresh, and it really shows. The bread was nice and tender on the inside and a bit crispy on the outside. Again the meat was nicely cooked and perfectly tender and all the flavors played well with one another. This was a very good dish and a bit on the spicy side. This wrap would make a nice introduction to this type of food. Just as a side note, I ordered a mango lassi, a yogurt smoothie made with mango. It was fantastic. The tart yogurt balanced well with the sweet mango and it was a nice, cooling drink to go with my spicy biryani.
Alright y'all, this is the part we don't like to do here at Food Junkies, that is to say something negative about a restaurant. This is especially true when the topic of complaint is service, because usually as long as the food is good we don't care about service as long as it isn't absolutely bad. In this instance, the quality of food was not enough to make up for the fact that we often sat for 15-20 minutes without being checked on while several members of the staff sat behind the counter shooting the breeze. If they had been busy we could have excused this, but we were the only table in the restaurant. Usually, we wouldn't bother writing a review for them, but the food was good enough that we felt they still warranted a mention. Maybe it was just an off night for them? When you go, it's probably best to call ahead and just pick op your food to go. OK, that's over now and I promise I don't have anything else bad to say.
The price range was reasonable, comparative to portion size. Entrées range from $5 to $13 and the portions are very generous. This was a very good meal, but again I strongly recommend you order it to-go.
The Austin Food Junkies are Alex Artibee, Matt Braley, and Dave Braley, "Two guys who love food, and one chef, trained at the Texas Culinary Institute." Check out their reviews of other Austin area restaurants on their blog, Austin Food Junkies.