Restaurants

Sabri Nehari– Devon Avenue Favorite

July 11 2006 - 1:43 PM

It’s usual for some people to order the same thing everytime they go to a restaurant. I ususally try new things, especially when it comes to ethnic foods. However this last time at Sabri I had the perfect meal. Again.

We ordered three things, veggie samosas, nehari and chicken makhani. They are the tastiest things I’ve eaten from any restaurant offering Indian or Pakistani foods. It may be the tastiest meal in Chicago at the moment. Suffice to say I had a meal that cost 500% more last week and while they’re literally half a world apart and figuratively further, I can say that Sabri Nehari offers food that flat out owns Devon avenue. That’s high praise.

People swear by Bhabi’s Kitchen or Usmania, Hema’s Kitchen or Tiffen, Viceroy, Udupi, etc. While I don’t make any claim to knowing any better than anyone else what actually tastes better… I have my likes. Sabri I like.

The Nehari is a bowl of gravy with a large chunk of stewed meat in the middle. It has a perfect balance of spice and sweetness. They serve it with shredded ginger and jalapenos on the side to mix in if you want hotter or more ginger. The Nehari has a reduced quality that immediately reminds me of times spent over a reducing demi glace – smelling the concentrated goodness. It is a wonderful way to enjoy stewed meat with either nan or rice. It makes for a great meal of leftovers as well. (My dinner tonight).

The Chicken Makhani should be enjoyed after the Nehari because as good as the Nehari is, this is stronger, more pungent and even tastier. Imagine, if you will, the very best chicken tikka masala. it’s dark orange sauce, slightly smoky and spicy, mingling with it’s tomato base. Mmmmm. Ok forget that. This is better. It’s as if you went to Willy Wonka’s Factory and found the savory floor. The stuff looks like orange plaster and sticks to everything. It’s loaded with tandoori chicken that has a pinkish color to it. One bite of it and you ask – What could possibly be added to this that I have never had added to any food before? I’ve had MSG, a bit of truffle oil on occasion, some olive oil quickly stirred into a tomato sauce at the last minute, melted butter on a burger, dashes of heavy whipping cream… That’s all well and good. It’s the quotient of fattyness to tastiness. My suspicion is it’s a mix of yogurt an ghee (i.e. clarified butter), recipes that I’ve seen include peanut oil as well. I would guess that this has more ghee than most and plenty of yogurt. All I can say it that it takes over your meal and trying to go back to a bowl of Nehari afterwards is tough. Considering how awesome the nehari is, I’d recommend enjoying that as much as you can before you lose control and drift towards the Chicken makhani.

The samosas are really good and the mango lassi garnered a Seinfeld quote, “Best ever, Jerry” which was repeated several times.

If you’re looking to celebrate the last day before a diet, this is the place. Actually, enjoy the leftovers the following day, then start… If you’ve never had this before you’re definitely missing out.

Do note that booze is not allowed at all. Pakola is a green cream soda of sorts that I enjoy but some people think smells more than it tastes. The mango lassis are as mentioned “the best ever Jerry.”

Sabri Nehari’s Chicken Makhani and Nehari are the two best dishes I’ve had on Devon avenue.

Sabri Nehari
2511 W. Devon
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