Archive | January, 2018

Winter Warmth Found at Two Steam Tables

25 Jan

 

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Dera, on Lexington Avenue in the neighborhood with the fragrant acronym, Curry Hill claimed the gamut of South Asian cuisines including Bengali, Indian, Pakistani, and Nepali . Was the goat combo different in Nepal than Pakistan? As long is it comes with nan bread, basmati rice, and of course a Coke, that’s a combo that would be hard to beat in any country.

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Beans Punjab-style

For those, and I’m really just talking about Eugene here, who are squeamish about goat or lamb after hearing Agent Starling’s heartfelt confession to Hannibal Lecter, and those slaughtered lambs in Silence of the Lambs, there were plenty of chicken curry options.

Lector

Kidney and fava beans yes: Goat no.

 

Gerry, on the other hand, welcomed the idea of goat. And the gamier the better.

DSC00822Zio would eat goat, kidney, fava beans and duck’s feet if he could. But at Dera he even stooped low enough to try what looked like a cross between Gefilte fish and a very pale matzoh ball. This particular sweet was soaked in milk and from what I could tell tastes best when served with a plastic spoon.

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Our next steam table was on Roosevelt Avenue under the number 7 train in the familiar terrain of Jackson Heights. This one offered meats and more; a modified and more than moderately priced churrascaria. Chosen by Gerry, I quipped to him after he emailed our destination as Aroma Brazil that I could smell the barbecued meats all the way in Harlem. No one even chuckled and how could I blame them.

DSC00827It was too cold to smell anything when we convened inside the small restaurant under the tracks. We warmed up quickly by piling meats, hanger steak, short ribs, roast beef, and sirloin onto our plates. I was careful and actually took two plates, one for the salad bar that included varieties of rice, greens, eggplant, plantains, beans and more and had them weighed separately. At Aroma Brazil you pay by the pound. I was carrying a heavy load and I paid for it in more ways than one.

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Brazilian steam table offerings

Gerry as he usually does, despite whatever ails him, eats more than all of us. After plowing through his sizable mound of meats and vegetables, he pondered out loud that he might get more. I offered him a portion of my dinosaur-sized short rib. He took it without hesitation.

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Rice made with shrimp heads

After Gerry made quick work of the rib and all our plates, with the exception of, who else but Mike from Yonkers, who was slowly gnawing meat off his own short rib, were cleaned, we pondered dessert. Gerry didn’t have to ponder for long; he settled on a tres leche cake while Zio ordered a slice of cassava cake that was as memorable as the shrimp head rice.¬† Though we offered him tastes, Eugene just watched us fill up on sweets. He had his annual Punta Cana retreat upcoming and couldn’t risk adding any flab to his normally concave belly.

It wasn’t as cold when we exited Aroma Brazil as when we entered. But it was cold enough to want to return to that warm Brazilian steam table well before we would be complaining about the heat.

Dera 

103 Lexington Avenue

Curry Hill (Manhattan)

 

Aroma Brazil

75-13 Roosevelt Ave

Jackson Heights

 

 

 

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