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Monday, November 7, 2011

New Haven's Best Kept Secret!

fresh palak pakora with sweet &
spicy cilantro mint chutney

--is Thali! Located in the heart of the Ninth Square and just three blocks from Yale's campus, lies Chef Prasad Chirnomula's "jewel in the crown" of Indian regional cuisine restaurants in Connecticut...

LAST Saturday, David had a concert performing with Vigil ensemble at the Yale School of Music and I took the day off to also visit with good friends Luis and Larry. Luis picked David and I up at the Metro-North station from where the three of us headed to his apartment to drop off our belongings. There, we met with Larry; and after a tour and settling into the guest room, we all sat down to discuss where we'd be having "late lunch." We decided upon Thali.

Not being our 'main meal' of the day, I was expecting a casual, neighborhood restaurant. But all that had left my mind when upon entering Thali, I'd noticed a plaque commemorating their James Beard Foundation Award. I started late lunch with a "Thali Mary," while Larry opted for a tasty Mumbai Collins. After placing our orders, we snacked on papadum while enjoying our drinks. There seemed to be a lengthy delay with our first course arriving, which was unsettling since we seemed to be the sole diners in the restaurant. But after Luis had had a word with a FOH member, our delay was soon met with wonderment...

malai kofta

My delightfully arranged  palak pakora (rice flour dusted crisp spinach leaves) was wonderfully crispy and delicate! The rice flour batter was like a fine filigree on the spinach and surprisingly, my dish was served thoughtfully chilled. (perhaps, explaining the delay) For the main course, I decided upon the vegetarian malai kofta (potato and paneer cheese balls in a mild cardamom flavored sauce). The freshness of the ingredients in the malai kofta was just as pleasing as it was with the chaat and finishing it only left me craving more! Having to wrap up lunch so that David could make it to sound check in time, we didn't get to enjoy any of Thali's sweet delicacies. I guess that just means that I'll have to return to Thali which will be a sweet return for me!
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