The Pakistani neighborhood that runs down Coney Island Avenue in Midwood, Brooklyn, has a fairly vibrant restaurant scene, mostly made up of places that serve Pakistani/Bangladeshi or Turkish food.
I stopped by Bukhari today for lunch. It’s a small, steam-counter Pakistani place that does a very brisk business (always a good sign). It’s also open 24 hours.
I asked the guy behind the counter what he liked best. He pointed out a turmeric-yellow goat and tripe curry, so I asked for that, plus daal and rice.
The curry was full of soft slices of onion, bits of cooked-down tomatoes, bone-in mutton and strips of chewy tripe. It was all held together in a dryer, spice-laden gravy, rather than a creamy, abundant one. The mutton was very tender and gamey in a good way. (Pick the bone up with your right hand and suck the meat off.)
The daal was a mix of yellow split peas, which cook into a creamy mash, and urad dal, the tiny black lentils that hold their shape. It’s a nice textural combination. The daal was spiked with ginger, and probably a good amount of butter, too. Even the rice was good, buttery basmati, augmented with chickpeas and faintly scented with cinnamon.
I got a mutton biryani to go, and snuck a luscious bit of meat out of it as soon as I got home. It looks promising.
A few doors down, Gourmet Sweets has an array of some of the freshest mithai (South Asian sweets) I’ve had in New York. If you think you don’t like Indian sweets because of some horrible, overly sweet mithai you get at a restaurant, go try the almond burfi at Gourmet Sweets before you write mithai off altogether. I also liked their pistachio chumchum.
1095 Coney Island Avenue
1107 Coney Island Avenue
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 17, 2008