Saturday, December 6, 2014

Restaurant Review: Mazza Indian Cuisine

Paneer is the Bomb!

What is paneer? Paneer is an Indian version of cottage cheese but don't envision curds. . . It comes in a brick and is very mild, with a consistency close to extra firm tofu. Most of the time it shows up in Indian food at restaurants in cubes that have been fried or cooked gently in the sauce of the dish (I prefer it a little bit fried) and is often featured in Mutter Paneer with peas and a creamy sauce. I am not a huge fan of peas and think that they taint the paneer. . .

Most people are familiar with Chicken Makahani or Butter Chicken as staples on an Indian restaurant menu but it's often more difficult to find similar dishes with paneer instead. My first exposure to Paneer Makahani was in Toronto, at a gem of a restaurant called 309 Dhaba Indian Excellence and it was heaven (on a completely side note, or semi related, I often dream of getting a passport just to go back and eat there - the best Indian I ever had and very romantic). When we returned home, I asked the local restaurant if they could make Butter Chicken for us but substitute the chicken with Paneer and we have been ordered our dishes this way ever since.

We have quite a few Indian restaurants in town but to find food just the way we like it we have it narrowed down to a handful and Mazza Indian Cuisine is really a treat. What's nice is that the food is consistently good. there is another restaurant in town that is sometimes incredible (and those are the days that you are glad you came) but often is mediocre, and sometimes just plain bad. There has been more than on occasion that we have opened up take out containers and after a quick taste had to throw it away. It's just not worth the gamble as it is not exactly cheap to eat, and I don't like to come away disappointed.

We visited Mazza yesterday and it was actually decorated for the holidays which was nice as it was already dark outside and the glow of the lights was festive and warm. Now I will warn you that this place in terms of ambiance is nothing special but it's damn good. I do get carry out from here as well but this food is so fresh and tastes so wonderful right after it comes out from the kitchen so I really do like to eat in the actual restaurant. I should also warn you about a couple more things: 1. We are often the only ones there in what I would consider peak time but don't be alarmed. I think their carry out/lunchtime buffet keeps them going and you don't have to worry that it's not going to be good. 2. It is going to take a while for them to take your order and a long time to actually get your food. Again, their carry out business is brisk and they don't have a lot of staff. The food is made to order I believe and it's going to take time but it's worth the wait.

Last night we had three different dishes. I am sure in the photo it's not very distinguishable but let's start at the twelve o'clock position. That is Lamb Koorma. It really is a mild dish with buttery soft cubes of lamb in a cream sauces with almonds, coconut and raisins. I really am not a huge raisin fan but in Koorma it works. Their koorma sauce has little shredded bits of coconut which is a nice touch and even my picky kids were surprised at how much they liked this dish. Vegetarian? Try a Vegetable Koorma with the same sauce but with mixed vegetables. I also enjoy that.

The dish next to the Koorma, clockwise is Paneer Tiki Masala. It won't be as spicy as the original Chicken Tiki Masala on the menu because the spiced Tiki chicken is absent from the dish but it has a hint of spice. The sauce is mild and creamy and the cubes of cheese are abundant. Across from it is the Butter Paneer and quite honestly, as there isn't chicken in this either, you really won't discern much of a difference from the Tiki but this is a bit milder. When you put chicken in these dishes the contrast is more pronounced.

All dishes come with a choice of naan or rice. We always order both as it's much better to put a layer of rice on our plate to catch all the gravy or sauce but then scoop it up with the Naan. Good stuff.

If you are in the area, or even if it's a bit of a drive, I highly recommend Mazza. You will be glad you drove there and even will forget about the wait once they bring you the delicious food.

No comments:

Post a Comment