We tried to go to Cremant last night for dinner, but (like much of Seattle) they still didn’t have power. Hungry, we wandered into our neighborhood, and I picked an Indian-Pakistani joint on Greenwood & 82nd called The Kebab House.
It had the marks of a good ethnic eatery—cheap carpet, pleather chair coverings, vacant walls, etc. We seemed to be the only native English speakers.
What little we tasted turned out to be good curry, but not so much hurry. We asked for a lamb kebab platter to share, and side orders of channa dahl (a yellow split pea curry dish) and garlic naan. I also ordered a mango lassi, the chilled yogurt drink that seems to alternate between deliciously refreshing and sickeningly sweet, depending on where you are. We got lucky, and somehow we both got one, which turned out to be a good thing.
Time passed. We chased the ice around in the bottom of our lassi glasses. People came, and people left. The server apologized halfheartedly. A full hour after ordering, our little bowl of dahl and some naan showed up—the dahl was creamy and piping hot, with the kind of curry mixture that enables you to taste each individual spice—turmeric, coriander, cumin—alone and also as part of the curry blend. The server apologized again, and 30 more minutes ticked by. Eventually, the group next to us, who had been seated after we’d finished our drinks, asked for their check. We approached the server. We paid for what we’d eaten and left, without our lamb. This time, there was no apology.
We passed Taco Del Mar on our short walk home. My husband gave me the look that says, “See? I told you we should have gotten Mexican in the first place.” We wolfed down spicy, cheap shredded beef tacos with our coats still on, and walked home.
As we walked, my husband and I pondered what defines a good dining experience. I realized how many parts of eating out I take for granted: like that the food will come, for example. Or that when the food doesn’t come, someone will respond to diners who mention the fact that there’s no food. Our conversation ended like this:
ME: “At least it was good dahl.”
HIM: “How could it have been bad? It’s just BREAD.”
ME: “No, naan is the bread.”
HIM: “Oh. Well, whatever. Next time you want Indian food, we’ll go to India. It’ll be faster.”