Punjab Palace

This is not your nuevo Indian cuisine with inventive new entrées, but it does the trick for old-style northern Indian food. It's waaay west in Kendall (the turnpike's a block away), at the end of a small strip mall, right where you wouldn't notice it. But step inside and treat yourself to the pink sauce of matar paneer (peas and fried squares of fresh curd cheese), the same classic silky-smooth texture as usual, but with a tangier flavor from tomatoes blended into its dairy base. In America saag paneer (spinach and cheese) is more common, but Punjab's preparation demonstrates why sweeter and starchier peas are a much more popular pairing with delicate paneer in India than the bitter leaf vegetable. Vegetable malai kofta is another standout, Punjab's nonmeat versions far more elegant than the usual ground lamb sinkers. Good but not as good were old standby chicken curry, shrimp korma, and keema mutter, an intensely spiced mix of ground meat, peas, and tomatoes. Mop it up with a garlic nan and wash it down with a Kingfisher, a strong but very smooth Indian lager.

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