http://www.cafenirvan... Your Ethnic Eats Guide-Richard Gruica Get ready for one of our most exciting dining adventures! This meal will be a little different...in order to try the full range and spectrum of Indain cuisine, we will be serving the food family style. I spoke to the owner and she promised "Good Eats" all of the favorites. Here is the scoop, we will get a one drink(soda or tea), all the food, served family style and a special dessert made just for us for the incredible price of $18,
not including tax and tip. Don't miss this one. The seats will go fast and I WILL be keeping a close eye on the RSVP's-late cancellations, no show's. THEY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED! Below is a review of Cafe Nirvana Indian Fusion By Helen Schwab The Charlotte Observer Nirvana, translated from Sanskrit, means an extinguishing, and while I don't pretend to grasp the finer points of Buddhism, I believe one goal is liberation from earthly desires. In which case, Cafe Nirvana is just not helping at all. Not with tiny, perfect lamb chops done in the clay oven called a tandoor, served with Nilgiri kurma, a minty sauce named for mountains in the south of India. Not with lusciously rich saag paneer from the country's north, its tender cheese, cut into large chunks, in creamy spinach sauce. Not with the south Indian masala dosa, its paper-thin, crisp, crepe-like skin breaking with a crunch around pieces of potato cooked to just-softness and served with thin, spicy sambal sauce and coconut chutney. No, this is not the stuff of which self-denial is made. Charmaine Govender, born and raised in South Africa but of south Indian descent, opened this with her mother, Manormoney Pillay. Govender taught elementary school in New York before she and her husband decided to seek a more family-friendly pace. When they arrived in Charlotte, it was daughter Deshanie, 12, who convinced her mother to try this. The menu ranges wide, from the Goan curries of the west to some sweet-edged dishes of the east, from the south's rice cakes called idly to the north's tandoori dishes, and even its Manchurian-inspired blends. Listings are divided several ways: by course, by geography, by protein (lamb, chicken, seafood), etc. To do the lineup justice, plan on taking home next day's lunch -- if there's two of you, get two entrees and an appetizer and know you'll have extra. Dishes are presented simply, in angular white plates and bowls, with plenty of accompanying sauces and chutneys. These aren't typically identified by servers, which I can understand, but I'd love them to offer to do so. That way, the expert can demur and the novice will feel welcome in learning. Three dishes are labeled as fusion, including those delectable lamb chops, which came with a shaped mound of crisp-edged, minty potato chunks. Chef Muthalagu Alagappan has cooked in India and Dubai (of the United Arab Emirates), says Govender. Plans call for significant expansion of the fusion offerings. A tandoori mixed grill promised six proteins and delivered: salmon and chicken tikka (marinated in yogurt and herbs, with a little tang, these were my Subscriber Services Charlotte Observer News Business Sports Entertainment Living Classifieds Jobs Cars Real Estate Charlotte, NC 50.0 Search Restaurants Review of Cafe Nirvana - The Charlotte Observer Page 1 of 2
http://events.charlot... 7/28/2008 favorites), shrimp, lamb, seekh kabob (seasoned, minced lamb, rather like sausage), and large hunks of characteristically bright red tandoori chicken. Sliced onions and peppers -- key to the flavor -- accompany the mix. Lamb Pasanda, described as "the perfect lamb curry," brought creamy, thick sauce studded with sliced almonds and chunks of lamb. "Pasanda" can mean "favorite" or "liked," and one can see how this would be popular. I'd nominate it (over the objections of my family) to usurp the hallowed position of chicken tikka masala, recommended by nearly all servers in Indian restaurants to nearly all non-Indian customers. (Cafe; Nirvana avoided pushing this, to its great credit. It's a lovely dish; I'm just tired of its ubiquity, rather like tiramisu in Italian places.) And speaking of tiramisu, there is none here. There is Bailey's cheesecake and apple pie a la mode, but I'm hoping you'll go instead with apricot bread pudding, a small, shaped dome of the stuff, slathered in creme anglaise. Or try mango kulfi, a sort of Indian ice cream that's dense and hard, not airy and melting, but interesting and nicely flavored. Servers move quickly, which can seem abrupt. But they're happy to pause and converse, recommend and suggest, and help you on your way toward extinguishing at least your hunger.