East Indian hideaway

Curry Corner in Lacey is tucked in a strip-mall, but the tastes are hard to miss

By Jake and Jason de Paul on December 23, 2009

Curry Corner

Where: 9408 Martin Way E., Suite 2, Lacey 360.455.8776
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday- Saturday, Noon-8 p.m. Sunday,  Lunch until 2:30 p.m., Closed Monday
Cuisine: Family, friends and students enjoy low-cost high-taste East Indian cuisine
Scene: Casual, family friendly dining
Drinkies: Standard non-alcoholic beverages, yogurt lassi, Indian tea
Prices: $3-$14.95

ANOUNCER: Meat, rice, vegetable. Repeat. Meat, rice, vegetable. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? Curry Corner in Lacey takes these three simple standards and makes magic happen. Tucked back off the main drag in an unassuming strip-mall along Marvin Road, these basic ingredients are tandooried, simmered in yogurt sauce, sautéed with raisins, broiled with creamed tomato, marinated in garlic and ginger, dipped in chickpea batter and fried, and stuffed with herbed potatoes. Chopping, baking, smoking, skewering, and blending lay the groundwork for a mouthwatering gastro experience.

JAKE: I love winter — bounding from the heated car, dashing through the cold, slamming in the door of a restaurant to be engulfed in the rich scent of spices. I can almost feel the moist air settle on my face. Curry Corner was warmly lit, and the small place moderately filled. We were shown a table immediately. The man who seated us was a little brisk though. Was he in a hurry or did he slap the menus down kind of hard, Jason?

JASON: Are you kidding? Did you want him to hold your hand and tell you how pretty your eyes are while he explains dishes you already know? We’re guys, or at least I am. Dudes don’t sweetly cater to dudes.

JAKE: Our server did not know I have a weakness for East Indian cuisine. He should have asked. My other weakness got a little flexing here, too, that of platters with multiple items — they’re like my own private mini buffet. It saves me from having to make a decision and it saves me money. The assorted veggie appetizer plate had aloo tikki — aloo means potato, and these are mashed with green peas or matar. The plate also featured one of my favs — paneer pakora. To me, when paneer, a mild cheese, is prepared like this, I call them East Indian cheese sticks — except these were flat rectangles sans marinara and the breading was made of mashed garbanzo bean batter. It’s good.  I promise.

JASON: Wow, if you don’t knock it off I’m going to think you want your own private Idaho. The other two items on the appetizer platter were veggie pakora — cauliflower and potato dunked in seasoned chickpea batter and fried till golden — and samosas — pastries stuffed with herbed potatoes and green peas. Two sauces — spicy mint and a deep red tangy offering — provided perfect wading pools for the appetizer array. My mind was occupied with thoughts of rogan josh — a hearty thick dish of savory simmered lamb chunks, garlic, cumin, yogurt, tomato, onion, garam masala and coriander. The lamb curry didn’t disappoint on the whole; the flavor was heady. I think it was a tad skimpy on the meat, though. More, please.

JAKE: You only ordered that because rogan sounds like rogue and you think that sounds tough.

My shrimp jalfrezi was steaming tender bowl of sweet red and yellow bell peppers, fragrant brilliant green cilantro, garlic and onion in light gravy. First bite of shrimp yielded easily, but got tougher as I ate. Those little mud bugs were still cooking in the dish and thick gravy. The basmati rice was moist and middle-of-the-road — not spectacular, but not bad either. I dunked pillowy soft naan bread in it and used it as a scooper — sprinkling basmati on it.

JASON: I just figured it out. Your wife has been making you go Christmas shopping for the family with her and her sisters. The “chick” in them is rubbing off on you. It’s all making sense. The lassi I ordered was tasty as expected. This chilled yogurt drink helps to temper the dishes when they’re super spicy — but since my dish didn’t arrive at the five star level I’d asked for, I treated my mango lassi as dessert.

JAKE: Your brilliance and wit is just the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it?

JASON: Merry Christmas, brother.