The (no) sub continent
by Chris Wright
Central Square has long been a mecca for Indian restaurants. What you might not
realize is that the area even has its own Indian fast-food joint, located in
the rear of Shalimar, a mini Indian-goods emporium. Pass the stacks of rice,
the racks of pickles, the videos, the spices, the saris, and the jewelry, and
you'll find a no-frills "food court": a counter, a cooler, and a microwave.
At a buck apiece, the veggie samosas -- a moist, tasty mash of potato and
spice wrapped in crisp pastry -- are perfect for a cheap and cheerful fix. A
buck fifty will get you more of the same, but with a dollop of ground beef.
Yum. The food can't always stand up to the sit-down Indian around town; our
pakoras ($1) were dry and clumpy, and the saag paneer ($4.50) -- creamy sauce,
spinach, and cubes of soft cheese -- was a tad bland and skimped on the cheese.
The chicken in the chicken curry ($4.75) was plentiful and lean, though the
tomato-based sauce had a bit of a Ragu ring to it. For dessert we had coconut
cutlet (75 cents), a slice of syrupy delight, and coconut chum chum (75 cents),
possibly the tastiest wad of sawdust I've ever had.
But one shouldn't gripe. This is, after all, fast food, and it's an
improvement on your average burger -- or at least a change. Forgo the
strawberry shake for one day; try a mango lassi instead ($1.75).
Shalimar, located at 571 Mass Ave, in Cambridge, is open Monday through
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to
8 p.m. Call (617) 868-8311.
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