Monday, February 25, 2008
Veg Out: Bindi
Adam Erace is one of the defter writers in the PHL food crit scene. His synopsis of Bindi was a clever ode to the dash, and heightened my already-budding curiosity of the new-ish Indian BYOB. While clearly an issue with those who like to plan ahead, I'm glad that Bindi doesn't accept reservations on weekends, allowing me to call last-minute and inquire on empty tables. By the time we got there, a crowd of eaters was just starting to pack into the tight, drafty space. There was a small corner table waiting for us, inches away from another group. Talk about intimacy.
Bindi seems so intent on appearances that the cuisine itself is often an afterthought. Each dish was sent to the table with a thoughtful aesthetic approach. Even though everything was presented quite ornately, tastes fell flat. Spices were present but not overwhelming. Dual notes are meant to add lingering flavor, but forgettable appetizers were followed by equally so-so entrees.
A serving of Lentil Bread was a flat, uninteresting pancake. Sarsoon-saag Paneer arrived in a small silver platter, but the portion was filling enough that I only got through half. The nutty cashews gave the smooth spinach puree some depth and the satisfying chunks of cheese balanced the slight kick. I could have done without the meaty mushrooms. I wasn't thrilled.
The dessert menu was lacking the Cardamom Cake mentioned in reviews. Luckily, I was intrigued by the Kulfi, a duo of house-made ice creams shaped like cones. Presentation, of course, was deceiving. Both flavors were hard rather than creamy, because of the execution, but the Goat Cheese was more exciting and had a longer-lasting impact than the Berry Almond. The too-large bowl they were served in made it difficult to spoon the ice cream. As we passed Capogiro on our way back, we regretted not holding out for some respectable gelato.
105 S 13th St