Posts Tagged Flavor of India
Monthly Feature, By Jarred Kibbey
Each month, Jarred highlights one of his favorite dishes from around Little Rock.
I have said it many times and I will say it again, Indian food is my comfort food. There is something about the curries, samosas, and naan that make me just want to eat a big meal and then take a nap. This was particularly damaging to my afternoon work productivity when I worked within walking distance to an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet. I can safely say that I have tried almost every Indian dish in town, but there is one dish that stands out above all others.
Chicken 65 at Flavor of India.
I have a love/hate relationship with this dish. I love it because it’s incredibly flavorful with an abundance heat, but it still maintains delicate flavors. I hate it (or rather, myself) because I am convinced that it is the ultimate midnight snack. The instructions for eating this dish are very specific:
1) Order any dish not named Chicken 65 and enjoy. I suggest the Lamb Kadai (spice level medium) with garlic naan.
2) Place a to-go order of Chicken 65.
3) Upon arriving home, place Chicken 65 in fridge.
4) Wait until you are almost ready for bed (but preferably before you brush your teeth) and remove from fridge.
5) Eat the dish cold, directly from the container, while standing in front of open fridge.
6) Hate yourself.
This dish has everything I love in a midnight snack. It somehow gets better when it is cold. It is spicy with a hint of sweetness. It is fried. All of these things make it for a great dish to enjoy right before bed and then wish you hadn’t the next day.
Most Indian restaurants in Little Rock serve Chicken 65, but Flavor of India’s is unlike any other in town. Some establishments drown it in sauce and the breading cannot hold up and turns in to soggy bits of chicken in sauce. Others put way too much breading and it is like eating a spicy chicken nugget. Lastly, no other version in town has the balance of so many spices that Flavor of India is able to accomplish.
Flavor of India is one of my go-to places for take-out and it is specifically because of this dish. Yes, Flavor of India is convenient for me, but no more inconvenient that other Indian restaurants in WLR. It is the Chicken 65 that keeps me coming back to this place, and the main reason I wake up at 3:00 a.m. wondering why I can’t exercise even the slightest modicum of self-control right before bed.
Right off the bat, for the sanity of this post, let’s consider everything west of 430 to be WLR.
Even with the recent closures of 1620 Savoy, Igibon, and Ponchito’s, one could make the argument that the food scene in this area of town is really starting to improve.
Heck, you can always get a good lunch at Franke’s, Pho Thanh My, and Chi’s. Some of the better burgers in town are found at David’s and Big Orange. Need a good cup of coffee? Keep driving past Starbuck’s in favor of Guillermo’s. Local Lime has the best margarita in Little Rock. In the mood to crush some chicken wings? Lazy Pete’s is the place to go. Got a sweet tooth? Mickey’s still serves up my favorite cupcakes and at a very reasonable price. Even fine-dining is about to get a facelift, as folks can expect to see renovations to Table 28 in 2016.
My point is this … if you get past many of the larger chains infiltrating the area, WLR has developed a solid foundation of restaurants, at least over the past 4 years since I’ve lived here. What’s exciting to me are those newer, somewhat smaller places that have popped up over the past 4-5 months, restaurants like Flavor of India, Al Seraj, and most recently, Lulu’s Latin Rotisserie & Grill.
The $10 lunch buffet at Al Seraj, featuring items like hummus, baba ghanoush, chicken shawarma, and falafel is really worth checking out. And if you read the blog this week, you already know how I feel about Lulu’s. The steak, alone, is worth one Saturday night of your time. Flavor of India is a perfect spot to pop-in on a weeknight for some quick take out.
It’s this diversity in cuisines that truly has me excited about how much the WLR food scene has grown … and where it’s heading.