Curry Kebab - Compelling Indian Cuisine with New Menu of Stimulating Treats
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
The Curry Kebab is open and people need to eat there. That's essentially the message we want to communicate to people. Why? Because The Curry Kebab is worth the experience...it is a unique, exotic, dining destination unlike any other restaurant experience on Guam. If you thought it was good before, well it's even better now, with an a la carte menu filled with new and exciting dishes, including appetizers, a variety of Naan breads, flavorful main courses, fresh-squeezed fruit and veggie drinks, and desserts. Indian cuisine is principally and primarily about spice - a universe of spice blends and aromatic flavors that elevate the senses and stimulate the appetite. Although curry is probably the most easily identified food associated with Indian cuisine, the tandoor oven is what brings a basic hearth-inspired authenticity to Indian cuisine that universalizes its appeal. Naan (fresh leavened Indian bread), Chappati, and Tandoori Roti (unleavened bread) are served hot and fresh from the clay oven.
Curry Kebab's plain Naan bread is $1.50, and now available as Cheese Naan ($2), Garlic Naan ($2), Masala Kulcha ($2.25) and Rosemary Naan ($2.25). These are enhanced with condiments such as Lemon Pickle, Mango Chutney, and Raita, a creamy, refreshing yogurt and cucumber relish blend with mild spices ($1.75). Although the Curry Kebab serves a selection of wines and beers, including India's own Kingfisher brand, we opted for a Rose Lassi ($2.50)and a Strawberry Lassi ($2.75), which are fresh homemade yogurt shakes made with rose and strawberry sherberts, respectively. These are thick, ice-blended beverages that are easy to drink and not too sweet.
We wanted to try some of the vegetarian specials during our visit, and ordered a Navarantha Korma ($8.50) which has nine kinds of vegetables, fruits and nuts in a mild creamy sauce, and a Malai Kofta Curry, which is croquettes of fresh homemade cheese and potatoes in a mild creamy sauce. You can specify your spicy heat preference to your server choosing from mild, medium, or hot. Both of these dishes were very good to eat - both tasty and healthy. Indian cuisine offers vegetarians a universe of magnificent flavors and variety. Other vegetarian dishes include the Aloo Gobi Masala ($7.95), which is a cauliflower & potato blend sauteed in cumin, onion, herbs and tomato sauce, Mutter Mushroom Curry ($7.95), green peas and mushrooms cooked in a special gravy; and Baingan Masala ($8.50), which is egg plant cooked with onion, spices and special curry sauce.
There are Chicken Specialties like Chicken Curry, Chicken Pepper Fry, and Chicken Vindaloo, all for under $10, with the most expensive dish being the Chicken Tikka Butter Masala ($11.95). All but one of the Beef Specials run for $9.95, with the Beef Syrian Fry arousing my interest. It's stir-fried beef with ginger, garlic, cumin, curry leaves and coconut flakes. Sounds lovely! There are eight Lamb Specialties, with the most expensive entree being the Bombay Grilled Chops ($12.95). These are marinated with an Indian Barbeque Sauce and grilled inside the Tandoor. The Rogan Josh is a specialty from Kashmir, with lean chunks of lamb cooked in a rich almond sauce with a blend of fragrant spices, priced at $10.95.
The Seafood Specials include Fish Curry ($9.95), Masala Fried Fish ($9.95), Shrimp Curry ($11.95), and Kadai Crab ($13.95). There are 4 rice specialties, including Vegetable Rice Pulav ($4.95), Chicken Biryani ($8.95), Prawn Pulav ($10.95) and Mutton Pulav ($9.95). The Tandoori Delicacies, however, had such a powerful appeal that we decided on the Tandoori Chicken ($12.95), which is a game hen marinated and grilled in the charcoal fire clay tandoor. It had a magnificent presentation and was every bit as good tasting as it looked! The whole hen was golden browned and herb-garnished, with sliced cucumbers, carrots, and served with tamarind and mint chutney. There are five Kebab entrees, too, ranging from Malai Kebab ($10.95), cubed breast chicken marinated in yogurt, white pepper and ginger to Tangri Kebab ($9.95), a chicken drumstick marinated with herbs and yogurt, then grilled in the tandoor. There's something to be said about how super-heated clay conducts temperature and retains moisture. The meats are roasted, tender, and moist, not to mention exquisitely "spiced".
Although we were quite sated from the quantity of food we'd eaten, Matti Mathews, wife of owner Ashok Pandian, offered us a special traditional Indian dessert - Fruit Falooda. This is made with saffron-flavored Indian ice cream combined with fruits, nuts, and Indian vermicelli. Served in a tall, narrow footed glass, the Fruit Falooda is a distant cousin of the Halo Halo, since they both are made with rich cream, fruit, ice, and other flavored ingredients that are mixed with a spoon before eating. It is as colorful as it is exotic plus it is sweet and good.
The Curry Kebab is located in the Hafa Adai Exchange across Marine Drive from Atkins Kroll. They offer an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Lunch for $7.99 or you can order a "Lunch Box To-Go" for $4.99, Monday through Friday, 11am - 2pm. Dinner is served from 5pm - 10pm, Monday to Sunday. Reservations and inquiries can be made at 649-4151. The Curry Kebab has "Bollywood" music videos playing on TV monitors, with Indian music in the background. The only area for improvement would be in the service, as I really think that Indian cuisine requires some time and exposure to better understand and appreciate which a more experienced wait staff could provide. However, the food is so awesomely good that service concerns are soon forgotten as you consume bite after bite of The Curry Kebab's deliciously addictive fare!