May 27 2005 - 10:50 AM

Our old favorite restaurant, Lucky Kebob, is the jumping castle reason Pakistani food has become a comfort food. While my platemate has a huge thing for chicken tikka masala (note the similarities to her thing for panang chicken) she enjoys the differences of Pakistani food versus Indian.

Usmania is on Devon east of Western. The differences that I have seen might be more in reference to the restaurants I’ve been to as opposed to cultural cuisine specifics. I’ve noticed that Indian food is more dairy oriented than Pakistani and Pakistani food is more grill related than Indian. I’ve also noticed that there is a tremendous menu crossover in most places as well as a significant amount of vegetarian dishes in both.

Usmania is meat oriented and grill oriented and is very good. My first and biggest takeaway is that I have to learn how to make Nehari. It was a great dish at Lucky Kebob and is very good at Usmania albeit very spicy by comparison. It’s a reduced gravy that compares in richness to a veal demi glace with a generous piece of chuck roast cooked very soft in the middle of the bowl of gravy. Eaten with a large piece of nan and/or side of rice it would make a meal for two on its own.

We also ordered the mixed grill platter with large samplings of their grill items all incredibly moist, nothing dry, including: frontier chicken which is boneless and marinated in yogurt and spices and grilled to a fine “tandoori-like” red but much jucier and flavored differently, usmania chicken served on the bone and tasting more like bar-b-que, seekh kebob ground lamb pressed into long tubes moist and spicy, a different grilled lamb dish that I wish I remembered but it was grilled lamb chunks also moist and tasty.

In the old location,  the plastic east jump covered table cloths reminded us of Lucky Kebob as did the cautious warning that the Nehari was hot. The new location is much glitzier in a very distinct way, full of neon, colors and big bright letters. The locals seem to be very into it. The food is still tasty and for about $30 we took home plenty of leftovers and are looking forward to, what else, more nehari…

2233 W. Devon