What's going on with the shopping plaza across Edinger Avenue from Golden West College in Huntington Beach? Most of the businesses have temporary plastic banners in place of marquees, and scaffolding and fencing are everywhere. Just the other day, as I was enjoying a mound of goat biryani at Curry & Kabab Bistro, I saw a bulldozer carrying a pillar or something toward a scrap heap, with hard hats looking on as if they were witnessing the destruction of the Sands Hotel and Casino.
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The area is going through a much-needed upgrade, looking to attract the younger entrepreneurs in the city flocking to Pacific City and points beyond. That's a rat race, though; instead, the landlord should concentrate on getting delicious mom-and-pops such as Curry & Kabab. Its lunch buffets draw in folks ranging from Huntington Harbour society ladies to beach bums to students from across the street. Dinner brings expats excited to try some of the better subcontinental food in the city. While the restaurant does serve its eponymous dishes, which are worthwhile, go beyond those in favor of the rarities.
Although ostensibly Indian, a close reading of the menu reveals meals ranging from Afghan (rice pellow is related to the country's Kabuli palow with its sumptuous grains of saffron rice) to Pakistani (Peshawari naan finds the flatbread stuffed with nuts and golden raisin, a sweet counterpoint to the naan's smoky savoriness) to the span of Northern India, from vindaloos to tandooris to lamb, goat and more. The lamb bhuna reeks of garlic and ginger, each bite a jolt to the sinuses; the aloo methi, a type of fenugreek potatoes, refreshes down to the soul. There's even a section devoted to dishes prepared with cashew paste, which is like peanut butter turned to 100.
There is no hipness to Curry & Kabab; the dining room is ethnic via Anthropologie, the televisions tuned to ESPN, the wine-and-beer bar serving tried-and-true booze. And who cares? The food world isn't all food porn, you know. Oh, and I found a Psyduck here—how cool is THAT?
Curry & Kabab Bistro, 7114 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 841-1800.