Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nehari from G. Mirch Masala, Milwaukee, WI

Nehari is a traditional Pakistani dish- usually served as a breakfast. It is typically made from slow cooked beef, lamb, or mutton, in a rich and spicy curry-based sauce- and it goes great with traditional tandoori naan bread... so what is a traditional Muslim dish from South Asia doing in the heart of America's dairy land? I don't really know, but I'm not going to complain...

We found G. Mirch Masala based on a tip from a local. All we knew was that we were looking for something different- and Indian food sounded like a good idea. G. Mirch is really equal parts Pakistani and Indian, so it was sure to qualify as something different.

The place doesn't look like much- in fact, it's a bit of a dive- not that there's anything wrong with that - often the best hidden gems of the restaurant world are the worst looking dives you can imagine. The service was also somewhat lackluster. The food, however, was top notch. We ended up sharing several appetizers and entrees. My favorite was what was listed on the menu as "a traditional Pakistani dish and our house specialty" - Nehari (which I've usually seen spelled "Nihari").

This dish consists of chunks of slow cooked beef swimming in a dark brown curry-based sauce. The beef is so tender that it flakes apart at a touch. The sauce has a savory-smoky taste up front, that dissolves into chili-pepper heat on the back end. It is one of those dishes that gets progressively hotter as the meal goes on. If you ever have this dish, enjoy it with a side of traditional naan bread, and a mango lassi to keep the heat in check. It was a pleasant surprise to find a dish this exotic in a place known for cheese and beer.

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