Currylicious – Duluth, GA

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I first noticed Currylicious a little over three months ago when I visited Mama’s Paradise and saw the “Opening Soon” sign.  The catchy name, along with the “Homestyle Indian Cooking” tagline intrigued me.  Our initial visit was on a Friday, the day after they opened and they were slammed.  They have an introductory price on the buffet of $7.95 and it seems to be a hit.  In talking with our server that day, he said that most everyone that was there on Friday had been in on Thursday – and they had brought someone back with them.

IMG_8184In talking with the chef-owner on a second visit (to try the menu out this time), he and his family (cook book author mom & front of house dad, plus assorted cousins) had been looking for a spot for a restaurant for several years.  This former Japanese steakhouse fit the bill.  He said they weren’t looking to be your typical Indian restaurant and made conscious decisions to decorate in dark woods and light fabrics, and to use real plates, silverware and glasses.  He also said that they he specifically wanted the buffet to be colorful, not just different shades of red. 

On our first visit, a co-worker and I tried the buffet, which started with sweet chutneys and went through desserts.  My plate was heavy on the meat dishes (although they had plenty of vegetarian options):

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a chicken kebab (the whole chicken thigh), a beef kebab (a smashed and fried patty of ground beef), chicken pulao* (white rice with chicken, onions, chiles, ginger garlic, mint and coriander, cooked with coconut milk), and a chutney and naan bread.  They also specialize in Bombay Street Food (noted on their menu with BSF before the name), which are dishes you would typically buy from portable stalls on the streets of Mumbai.  I knew that I would be going back soon to sample some of those.

When I went back (with a different cohort this time) and sampled the menu, we started with a thin crispy butter naan with garlic and a tamarind sauce,

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and I followed that up with their take on Chicken 65, my favorite Indian dish. 

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Chicken 65 is so common on Indian restaurant menus (it has a fascinating Wiki page of it’s own, where the origins are explored – I’m partial to the last legend that the dish originally contained the corpses of 65 enemies that a great warrior had slain, but that the main ingredient had been changed to chicken with the demise of cannibalism)  that it almost becomes a cliche, but the dish is different here.  The chicken is not deep fried, but rather julienned and fried/seared in a wok with the ginger, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, vinegar, onions and  curry leaves.  It was outstanding.  For that first course, my cohort got a naan chaap (which looks like an Indian muffaletta), made of a mixture of potatoes, onion, chickpea, egg, ground meat, poultry or vegetable with the chefs secret spices and stuffed in a special Indian bread.  His was chicken.

I also ordered a shahi karma dish, with goat meat pieces simmered with yogurt fried onions and aromatic herbs, in a semi dry gravy.

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The food was excellent on four visits, so far, and this place has fallen into the semi-regular rotation.  One of the things I appreciate most is their attention to their guests – the family that owns it walks through and carries on conversations with diners and will, if you ask, walk them through the dishes on the buffet, by the dish.  If you’re unfamiliar with Indian food, this place is a great starting point.

* I never noticed the similarity in spelling of paella and this dish until I just typed that.  Interesting.

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