new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Mehran: Goat in the Heart of Sacramento

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mehran: Goat in the Heart of Sacramento

2333 Fair Oaks Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 568-0494

A Pakistani restaurant, Mehran is in a Very Unfortunate Location, tucked into the side of a laundromat besides a very big Borders emporium. Once you manage to find the entrance, though, the dining room is rather large and open, decked out in warm red tones with lots and lots of mirrors. (Too bad it's cold in there.)

On our visit, we stood around for a bit but were seated after someone noticed us. The menu is a bit short - I'm used to Indian restaurants that serve about a zillion dishes with change - but the basics are there, along with some interesting halal and tandoori dishes and plenty of biryanis. Feeling exotic, we ordered the goat curry with green chilis, the bhindi masala (okra) and the tandoori prawns, with a side of plain ol' naan. Our confused young server managed to figure this out.

The food arrived fairly quickly, although we had to ask our server for things like plates and silverware, which he did bring out eventually (though the rice never managed to show up.) The plates were incredibly huge and barely fit on the table, which was kind of amusing since we didn't order all that much food.

Serving sizes are small, although I don't think that's such a bad thing in the current era of MegaSize Everything. The goat curry as pictured above was delicious, oily, and everything that American food isn't - I loved it. The spice level was just right, and I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the fatty and rich meat with the kick of the chilis.

The bhindi masala or okra was also delicious, prepared as a dry curry with a bit of onion and chili. It was quite spicy (though I could have gone spicier) and rather addictive, with the kind of flavor that could be marketed as a yummy packaged snack. I'll come back for this dish alone. I love okra, and I love cuisines that can do it justice without falling prey to the slimies.

The tandoori prawns were only okay - of an average size and a bit overcooked, though the actual blackened-lemony flavor was pretty good. They came on a platter with raw onions and curiously inexplicable mushy french fries (huh?). I would like to see how they do tandoori mutton chops, which they were unfortunately out of on our visit.

Mehran seems to specialize in doing large catered banquets for lots of people, and I think that comes through - the dining room seems to be a bit of an afterthought. Service was slow and deeply confused, although the food itself was pretty tasty (but nothing blew me away.) Still, I'd like to return for one of their lunch buffets, which should eliminate the service issues.

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