Reflections on Stripmall Eating

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mall Country's Finest

Name: Jaipur
Location: 336 West DeKalb Pike, King of Prussia
Personnel: Stephen and Zella (aka my parents), Jesse, Me
What We Ate: Vegetarian Platter (Samosa, Pakoras, Paneer Pakoras); Papri Chaat; Tandoori Chicken; Lamb Kadai; Shrimp Vindalu; Palak Paneer; Nan; Masala Chai.
Condiments: Raita, Mango Chutney
Bill Total: $99
Observations: King of Prussia, land of malls, has become something of a breeding ground for exotically themed chain eateries. (PF Chang, Bahama Breeze and California Pizza Kitchen, for instance.) But it is also home to one of my favorite Indian restaurants in the suburbs. Located in the DeKalb Plaza, and named for the 12th largest city in India, Jaipur is a consistent bite for your buck, and a good place to escape the sodden buffet-table Indian food that's so prevalent in Center City. The service is friendly and efficient, the tablecloths are rose-colored, the food is served in elegant hammered metal pots. And, as my mom pointed out, it passes the ethnicity test: Actual Indian people choose to eat there — not just us Yanks. We started with the impossibly crisp pakoras, flaky samosa and thin slices of fried homemade cheese. The Papri Chaat, a seven-layer-type dip of yogurt, rice crisps, chickpeas and spices was a swirl of sharp and creamy textures and sweet and nutty flavors. Tender and piquant Tandoori Chicken arrived sizzling on its traditional metallic platter with onions and lemon wedges. The Goan shrimp Vindalu was my least favorite of the bunch — the shrimp were overwhelmed by the hot and sour sauce, with the overriding note being sour. There was no mistaking the peppery appeal of the Lamb Kadai, which burned with currylicious abandon. We cooled our mouths with dollops of minty raita and pillowy sheets of plain nan which we tore between us, then scooped up more. If you ever have to go to the KOP mall (and it really is unavoidable) you should check this place out. But do yourself a favor and go to the mall first. You wouldn't want to eat at Jaipur if, for instance, you had to try on jeans afterward.

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