During Ramadan, the girls behind the counter at Dhaka Kabab in Jackson Heights couldn’t fill to-go containers fast enough to serve the famished break-fasters as they streamed in the door every evening. “We had to pile up the containers ahead of time, and keep going. Hundreds of containers,” the owner told me, gesturing to the counter. The most popular dish by far was a simple but delicious cardamom-intensive rice with chunks of tender beef. “It’s not too hot, easy on the stomach,” he explained.
I certainly haven’t been doing much fasting, but I followed suit, using the rice as a tummy-liner for the hard stuff to follow. It can be hard to pick out a restaurant in Jackson Heights without recommendations, but a good sign here is that there is a market, Haat Bazaar, attached (two separate doors, but inside, one open space). The ingredients at the restaurant are the same ones being sold on the other side. So you can peruse the produce, check out the baby goat as it’s being butchered at a back counter, or even pick the fish you want to eat from the tank in which it swims.
Whatever you do, get the goat curry. As my date wisely noted, stewed meat with tons of flavor is hard to mess up, but when it’s really good, the difference is huge. At Dhaka Kabab, the meat is cooked on the bone for maximum flavor, and braised patiently, but not cooked to oblivion, which is a common pitfall in lesser restaurants of all kinds. The meat happily parts from the bone, but hasn’t sacrificed all its flavor to the sauce or acquired that stringy texture of a sub-par housewife’s goulash. It’s the kind of food that makes it hard to carry on a conversation. All you can do is wish it would never be gone.
37-11 73rd Street