I have a map hanging above my desk. Nick bought it for me. It’s a big map. It’s one of those maps that comes with push pins so you can mark all the places you’ve been. I’m borderline obsessed with this map. I stare at it, smiling at all of the brightly colored pins marking the places we’ve been. Then I look at all of the pin-less areas and smile some more, thinking of the adventures we have yet to embark upon.
All of this map staring makes a girl hungry, and after I’ve mentally planned the next 5 years of vacations for us I set my sights on something a little more immediate…our next meal.
The map comes in handy living in a city as big as NY. Sometimes I’ll play a game where I randomly pick a country or area of the world and see if I can find a restaurant serving that genre of food nearby. Almost 100% of the time, it’s easy as pie.
Our neighborhood borders the southern side of Park Slope which means that just south of us is a dizzying array of ethnic neighborhoods. One such neighborhood is home to some fantastic Pakistani restaurants, Bukhari being a popular gem.
Pakistani cuisine is heavily influenced by cuisine from all over the Indian subcontinent. Perhaps this is why we don’t see many specifically “Pakistani” restaurants in the states but we see Indian restaurants all over. Of course, as in any culture, the food can vary greatly from region to region (and please don’t think that I’m suggesting Pakistani cuisine is exactly like Indian), but if you’re trying a Pakistani restaurant for the first time you can expect Indian-type dishes with perhaps a greater emphasis on meat and maybe the best naan you’ve ever put in your mouth.
We were greeted warmly by the men behind the steam table when we walked into the Bukhari. We walked past the beautiful tower of sweets to the savory section and stared, inhaling the wonderful smell. None of the food was labeled and there was no real posted menu but Nick and I are used to that. Typically we just point and order but we must have been so obviously clueless this time that the gentleman suggested two of the special dishes that they only cook on Saturdays. The hubby would have one and I would have the other…problem solved.
We sat down in the dining room and mused about what we might be getting. Just a few minutes later we were greeted with a chickpea salad, a stack of glistening naan, a heaping plate of rice with peas and our meat dishes.
The naan at Bukhari might have been of the Roghani Naan (buttered) variety because it had been glazed with a delicious fat of some type and sprinkled with a light dusting of sesame seeds. This naan deserves a blog post all its own…it was amazing. The bread itself was so flavorful that you almost didn’t want to use it to sop up spicy sauces. Instead, you wanted to luxuriate in its fluffy, chewy texture and rich taste.
The chickpea salad was fresh, light and a perfect palate cleanser for the rich dishes.
Speaking of the rich dishes…I have no idea what our dishes were called. All I can tell you is that they were delicious.
Both meat dishes were coated in very spicy but also very flavorful sauces. The gentleman told me that mine wasn’t overly spicy and not to worry. After the first bite I could tell he was probably pulling my leg but I smiled, wiped the sweat from my forehead and dug in. My dish was chicken, perhaps coated in a light batter, tossed in a fiery sauce of peppers with hints of sweetness (looking back at the menu it might have been the Chicken Jalfarezi but I can’t be sure). Nick’s dish was goat or lamb or mutton or maybe beef but I don’t think so. It was slowly stewed till tender in a rich meaty brown sauce. It had a more earthy, stew-like flavor than mine and the two dishes together made for a fantastic flavor celebration.
We ate until our stomachs could take no more and had to declare defeat by filling a takeaway box with the remaining morsels. When Nick went to pay he came back to the table with a funny smile on his face. “Twelve bucks” he said. “For everything!?” I exclaimed a bit too loudly. ”Amazing” I thought. We smiled and rubbed our bellies as we walked down the street. What a treat.
We didn’t have a chance to try the sweets. Yes, we could have taken some home but we were at the point of bursting after our meal.
They serve a lot of stewed/curry dishes but they also have a mountain of marinated kebabs just waiting to be grilled a-la-carte. Just a note about the kebabs…be prepared for a bit of a wait for them as they head out back to a charcoal (I think) grill to cook those bad boys to order. But I’m sure it’s worth the wait.
The atmosphere is bright and clean but certainly nothing to write home about. There’s pretty ample seating for a restaurant of its size. The service is very friendly and helpful. The prices can’t be beat. I highly recommend this restaurant.