Sunday, July 05, 2009

Carlyle Club

I don't think I've written about the Carlyle Club since it changed its menu from Lebanese to what I would call "haute South Asian" (more specifically, South Indian). I don't know why. I've eaten there twice, and both times I was quite satisfied. Last night I went with friends who live in walking distance (lucky bastards). It was pretty slow last night, but heck, it's a holiday weekend.

Eric & Alan got wine, but I went for a podina lassi ($4) - a mint, honey and cardamom lassi (yogurt drink if you're unfamiliar) that filled me up just like the milkshake it so closely resembles. Of course, I had help from our appetizers and my entrée. We all shared two appetizers and a salad. The salad was made of arugula and acorn squash ($6), and was a pretty simple and satisfying salad at that. Added to that was a helping of cochin calamari (also $6) - I'm assuming it's calamari flash fried a la Kochi, Kerala-style. It comes with a smooth tomato chutney and is not the kind of calamari you'll find in Little Italy. It's different, and tasty, but went too fast. The other appetizer was just a helping of onion pakora (I didn't catch the price). I've found most pakoras to be a little on the tough, gritty side. This one wasn't tough, and was only a little gritty, and otherwise quite tender. Yes, I'm saying you should order this when you go. It's one of the better pakoras I've had.

My entrée was a dosa, but I'm afraid I caused a little confusion - almost exclusively for myself, since I can't make a decision to save my life - by wanting to mix two dosas together. Their dosas make for good appetizers, but for someone with a small stomach and bank account it can be a very good choice for your entrée. I ordered the habanero and mango dosa ($9), which had a traditional filling of onions, lentils and potatoes with an habanero and mango sauce on the side. But I wanted some paneer as well, so the waiter proposed putting some paneer in with the traditional filling. I don't know why I am so dense, but I was the only at the table who didn't quite understand this at first!

The dosa was served not like a crepe, as I've seen it other places (such as at the Mango Grove), but was instead decoratively shaped in a cone sheltering the filling that sat on the plate. I thought the filling could have used a small dash of salt, but it otherwise tasted delicious. The dosa itself had to be filled like a tortilla, in which you put food and then eat it with your hands (at least that's how I ate it). It's a tasty dosa and a tasty filling. The Indian pickle ($1.50) I ordered on the side was a nice, sharp, salty and tangy contrast to the dosa.

What I ordered cost around $20 to $25. The guys just asked me for a twenty. I didn't ask questions. I'm looking forward to going back again sometime.

Carlyle Club on Urbanspoon

NB: Starting with this post, I'm going to begin using the "locally grown" tag when I talk about restaurants. What I mean is that the restaurant in question (in this case, the Carlyle Club) goes out of its way to use local ingredients, such as plants and meats, as part of its menu. For now I will try to use it with restaurants as well as markets. Things that won't be lumped in with tag include beers and wines (those will get the "Maryland products with pride" tag instead. It also won't include crabs, because it's assumed that those will be local. For my purposes, "local blue crabs" means Chesapeake - Maryland and Virginia crabs, not ones from North Carolina, even though those are good, too. If a local crab house does not primarily use local blue crabs, I'll be mentioning that (*COUGH**COUGH*Phillips*COUGH**).