We’re not out of the pandemic woods yet, and I’m still masked in most places – and still not eating indoors in restaurants – but eating establishments are reopening and I tentatively propose that we start commenting on them honestly again. Many of us have been pulling our punches because we understood how hard it was for restaurants to survive over the last eighteen months, but perhaps, as we ease back to normalcy, we should ease back to the more judgemental angels of our nature. I understand that you may disagree.
In that spirit (possibly mean-) let me give a shout-out to Greek Corner in Cambridge (on Mass Ave). They’ve been a favorite across two boards, Chowhound and this one, for years, especially for their lamb sandwich. We’ve liked it, too, although not always as ecstatically as others. We took one out today, and it was terrible – cold, short on lamb, and with none of the smoky char of the past. The spanakopita was cold as well, the grape leaves stringy, the feta dry, and the taramasalata neon-pink and rancid. This must rank down there with one of the worst Greek meals we’ve ever had.
Less awful, but equally disappointing, was a meal from Guru the Caterer last Thursday. Guru didn’t ever serve the most exciting Indian food in town (for a separate discussion, there really isn’t any exciting Indian food in Beantown), but it was always freshly cooked (hey, there were always those huge pots on low stoves being stirred with paddles behind the counter), and their different dishes had distinct tastes, although they were always careful not to overdo the taste. But our Thursday dinner was pretty sub-mediocre. Both lamb and chicken were stringy. The lamb, to its credit, had gotten itself cooked in the curry in which it came, but the chicken had had itself boiled elsewhere, and had then jumped into its sauce at the last minute. It was the chicken pakodas, however, that made the food memorable. Huge chunks of already-cooked chicken tikka (the bright red was a giveaway) had been dipped into a thick besan batter, then deep fried. Some things are better twice-cooked – not chicken. I was only able to grimly chew through a quarter of a pakoda, before I tossed it.
Not to be only a sourpuss, the housemade Guru pickle is as good as ever. Indian pickles are still an underappreciated part of world cuisine – but that’s a whole other story.