In Indian Meat Heaven on Newbury
Kashmir Serves Divine Chicken, Lamb, and Cheese PattiesBy Amy Lee
279 Newbury Street
11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.
$16 - $30
I have never felt so unremorseful about eating a cuddly baby animal. Kashmir, a posh restaurant on Newbury, specializes in Indian cuisine. Although their lamb dishes should reilluminate the wonders of being a carnivore to all, Kashmir does also provide many tasteful vegetarian dishes.
For an appetizer, the meal began with the shrimp samosa dish, two dumpling-sized golden brown turnovers placed on top of a medley of vegetables. With a melt-in-your-mouth flaky pastry covering that would make any French pastry chef indignantly smitten, the samosa convinced me I had a partiality for Kashmir before I started on my entrÉe. Wrapped within was a surprisingly bland mixture of curry spices and herbs and tiny whole shrimp that sadly lowered my favoritism.
While awaiting the next dish, I spent half the time watching trendy-looking legs stride past the window. The other half was employed scrutinizing a strangely large, very hairy fly that had landed on my food. Needless to say, I generously allowed the fly to have full reign of the rest of the appetizer.
Next came the tandoori tikka salad, served in a metallic pot-like bowl with handles. The salad was the complete opposite of the stereotypical cow’s heaven, with a barely-there bed of greens smothered by excessive chicken strips and cucumber slices, unified by a slightly sweet yogurt sauce. The most noticeable thing of the whole night was the excellence of their meats; nothing had either the typical over-chewiness or toughness of steaks. The chicken, ironically in a salad, was no exception: it was so tender I had to examine it to assure myself I was indeed eating “the other white meat.”
Before my new fly friend could continue his quest of obesity through sampling my salad, the next dish was served. Along with the tandoori rack of lamb entrÉe came a plate of freshly-made naan, a stretched out triangle-shaped bread, served hot and brushed with oil. The flatbread, baked in a clay Tandoor oven, had an amazingly doughy texture, perfectly soft and dense, except in the little crispy burnt spots.
The lamb was incredible, both in presentation and taste. Served still audibly sizzling, three lamb ribs were placed on a layer of slightly wilted greens and sweet onions with a lemon half placed on the side. The lamb was cooked to a flawlessly medium rare state, slightly red on the inside but not quite a vampire’s feast. Marinated in an exotically tart but sweet spice sauce, the lamb was succulent and flavorful.
Unfortunately, I had another unwelcome visitor in the form of a fly, who inconveniently decided to land on my naan before I could enjoy very much of it. By the extent of its exploration path, I think climbing the mountains of naan may have been more appealing to the fly than eating any.
I was content to give up the naan as dessert was being served. Rasmalai, cheese patties immersed in a fragrant creamy sauce, was served in a shallow metal bowl with a light sprinkling of crushed pistachios on top. The airy texture of the cheese was evocative of a mixture of slightly hardened whipped custard and compressed cottage cheese. The milk syrup was what made the dessert distinctive. Flavored with cardamom, the syrup had a trace of out-of-place spice that contrasted perfectly with the blander cheese.
Not only was Kashmir more inconspicuous than a flashing Las Vegas billboard saying, “Meat Does The Body Good,” but it provided remarkable twists in presentation and flavors of its dishes. I was only afraid at the end of the meal that, from the abundance of flies, I may have eaten a little more protein than intended.