“Give Mary her lamb back.”
So here we are. The election is over, Donald Trump is our new president and I am still hungrier than ever on a windy Friday after class. Still hard to read that second sentence, but I’m sure we’ll all get used to it. With this new presidency, my stomach and I needed a meal to imagine the America that was always bound to happen. Brick Lane Montclair, you had a high order in putting me at ease with my hunger strike but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that you passed.
Walking into Brick Lane, it was fairly peaceful. A disconnection from the outside world at it’s finest. Colanders besieged the near-radiant light bulbs on the oatmeal-hued walls, depressing the incandescent light from ruining the benevolent mood. From the looks of the interior as well as the mood-setting lights and the small tables, Brick Lane is definitely a place for an intimate get-together with a loved one. Too bad three African-Americans males, including myself, had to figure that out the hard way.
As we squirmed into our seats crammed in a corner of the restaurant, menus and water were distributed to us. We sifted through the menu, using Google accordingly, as we were unqualified to understand the Indian verbiage. This Google word search then turned into 13 minutes of waiting for our server to come back.
This is one of the reasons why being ready to order can be crucial in times of hunger, but being a newcomer and foreign to the Indian culinary culture, my curiosities and decisiveness were warranted. Being a food critic, it is important to observe how responsive servers are to your requests and attention. Don’t make me eat a Snicker now that you have me waiting. I’d rather you keep me in the front of your mind. Your tip depends on it. Yes, that sounds vulgar, but trust me, you have thought of worse to say when bad service comes your way when you’re hungry.
After daring one another to be a brave soul and try Phaal, I decided on a meal from the “Tandoor” menu. That means your meal is served on a sizzling platter plate, with basmati rice and tikka masala sauce for an additional $5. Tikka masala is usually made of ginger, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon or honey, garlic, tomato sauce and turmeric. Must say, it was good for what I was expecting, but then again, maybe I wasn’t expecting anything from it based on the fact that I had to wait nearly 25 minutes to eat. Along the Tandoor menu, I ordered Seekh Kebabs, which are minced lamb with spices cooked on skewers.
Once the food arrived, it was chow time. It had to live up to so much. Along with the unease of Donald Trump presidency discussions, 25 minutes was a long time to wait for food and replace that time talking about politics. This food had a lot to prove and it didn’t prove a thing.
The minced lamb was tolerable. What a boring sentence for such a lovely piece of meat, or at least meat that should be lovely. There was an absence of zest from the lamb. The Korean powder mixed with chili powder, turmeric, cilantro, lemon juice and chaat masala couldn’t save it. The basmati rice was decent. Again, not the most eventful taste, but it fulfilled my human needs at the moment. Mixed with the tikka masala, the rice stood it’s ground on the tongue test. If only the lamb had helped it climb up the totem pole.
This meal, although tolerable, didn’t have anything that would make me come back. When I eat at a new restaurant, the service, as well as the preparedness of the meal, should surprise me in a positive manner, making me come back for more. If those two things are not up to par, and my standards are above average, my first time will be my last…said the Tinder user.
Brick Lane Montclair is located at 540 Valley Road, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043.