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Big Things Come in Small Sizes…

How can walking into a cozy, inexpensive restaurant for lunch feel as if I am royalty eating at the Taj Mahal? Baluchi’s, an Indian restaurant located on 25th St. and 3rd Ave., is not what you expect when first looking at its facade. Actually, you would probably pass by it on your way to somewhere else. However, the experience of Baluchi’s happens as soon as you enter the place.

Baluchi’s, whose name comes from the Baloch people who originated from Iran, benefits as a petite restaurant by having a wait staff that can be more attentive. Each time, someone was waiting to open the door to welcome us in and show us to our cushioned red seats as well as to hold the door open as we left. Natural lighting and

light from the colorful hanging lamp shades provided a relaxing atmosphere along with the Indian music softly playing in the background. Twice there was an unclean glass or plate, but the waiter or waitress was more than glad to replace them if we or they themselves noticed it.

And that is already receiving a lot when an entire meal can cost less than $30 and for lunch the meals are 50 percent off.

Another interesting practice of the restaurant is how the food is served. Unlike other restaurants that serve you on a plate, Baluchi’s uses mini-pot-like bowls for the entree and rice. At first glance the small portion sizes do not look filling, but surprisingly I was full after each meal.

Now what comes to mind when you think of Indian food — spicy– and what spice in particular– curry! I am of West Indian descent, so I have had plenty of contact with curry and in result use it as a tester in both West Indian and East Indian restaurants. The restaurant gets brownie points if they can cook curry seafood, my favorite, well.

Shrimp Curry

Baluchi’s Shrimp Curry ($15.95), which is in the seafood entree section, passed my test. It is comprised of shrimp cooked with curry spice, onions and tomato sauce and served with Basmati rice. I have had curry in the past that was too strong; it tasted salty and was too thick. But this one was the right blend of sweet and tangy, which was probably due to the tomato sauce cutting in on the flavor.

The Chicken Tikka Masala ($13.95), which is in the curries entree section, is a dish of “boneless chicken chunks simmered in

Chicken Tikka Masala

tomato and cream sauce.” The only time I have heard of Masala was from the 1991 film Mississippi Masala, starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury. So, it caught my attention and like the shrimp curry, it was not overwhelmingly spicy or sharp in taste. It had a hint of sweetness and ¬†was not so creamy that it would be hard too swallow. With the $7 potato and chick pea Samosa appetizer¬†and Nan bread, I was satisfied for the rest of the day.

Next time, I’ll try the catfish curry or the quail. As I said looking at Baluchi’s menu, so much tempting food and only one stomach.

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