Monday, November 21, 2016

Zena Gets Spicey at Dharani Southern Indian Restaurant

I like hot spicy food, and hot spicy men, but when they are too hot and spicy and I risk farting fireballs life quickly gets dangerous for mortals and zombies alike.

That's why the gods created Mango Lasse, FYI.
Dharani, in another scenic strip mall in Guilderland, NY
Dharani South Indian Restaurant is one of many that are part of the Altamount Restaurant Group - a small chain - with locations across the U.S., including another future site planned in Latham.  The menu clearly sets apart the vegetarian from the non-veg - which is wonderful, with plenty of appetizers, snacks and breads, curries, biryani, tandoori, and Indo-Chinese dishes to choose from.

I can't say much good about the decor: I like the linen and it's spacious but stark, with all the dining space dedicated to simple seating and tables - no plants or barriers or booths or art on the walls or decorations or flowers or candles - to me feels a bit too wide open and less than intimate, but that too might shift with time. 

Linen is lovely but the space is very utilitarian otherwise
We started with the Samosa (3/$6.99), stuffed with peas and potatoes and spice - wow! these were very peppery, with a shatteringly crispy crust, sprinkled with salt. It was a lovely plate, and I appreciated the cabbage to help cut the heat.
Big crispy peppery samosa

Chilli Chicken Appetizer made my lips tingle
The Chilli Chicken appetizer ($11.99) was a large plate of small battered bites blanketed with a serious fire, a touch of sweet, red onions and peppers. Both dishes left me blowing hot air, lips tingling. I'm no candyass, but I needed a bit of yogurt or something to cut through the heat at this point, so I ordered that Mango Lasse ($2.49), then dipped into the curries.
Lasse saved the mortals and zombies from fireballs

Peshawari Naan ($4.99)
The Shrimp Varutha ($15.99) boasted lime juice and onion and coconut cream (very southern), but all we tasted was fiery hot spice (chili!!!), and the shrimps were small and not exactly plentiful. The Lamb Vindaloo ($15.99) was excellent, more of a ragu than I'm used to, with a few potatoes, boneless meat (mostly tender). At this point I had to blow my nose: my tongue was numb and on fire. Moreso than usual, anyway, for a Fire Goddess. Next time I'll plan to order Mild, not Medium - Medium was SO spicy we all had to cut the food with rice and naan - but the food was still delicious. A little color to the rice would also have been nice.

You will need the rice if you order Medium..... Lamb Vindaloo (above) and Shrimp Varutha Curry
The prices seem a bit high, so next time I'll watch for that promise of a buffet. They have this huge area set aside and as yet no information except "Mega Sunday Buffet Second Sunday of Every Month". I understand a lunch buffet ($10.99) is coming. Personally, I love buffets - I get to try lots of things in small amounts and balance the spicy with other (milder) flavors and find out what I like.

The buffet is HUGE and holds much promise. 
Being the patient, cool, all-knowing all-seeing Goddess of Fire that I am I know that they will just get better. And busier.

Zena, Goddess of Fire

P.S. At this point, our Guilderland location has only been open for a week or two, so though they have a liquor license the bar is still under construction (though water will be your friend), and the grill isn't working yet. FYI.

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