As the situation would have it, I stayed in the Gwynn Park Days Inn last week (near Security Mall). First 7 PM, then 8 PM, then 9 PM, fast approached, then passed. I was getting hungry, and my options were becoming limited.
Paradise Indian Restaurant is *the* restaurant, and I mean, the *only* restaurant at the Days Inn. In DC-based terms, it’s not unlike Sangam was before it closed – an odd, virtually unknown Indian banquet hell dominating the center of a fleabag motel, with no apparent reason for being there, other than possible Indian ownership.
Rather than take a 9:30 PM chance on something else, I decided to make the best of a potentially bad situation. I walked into the restaurant, studied the environs and menu carefully, and decided it had a strong Pakistani influence. They advertised that their goat and lamb were Halal (a very good sign), and so I went simple, Halal, and rolled the dice on the Lamb Curry ($12.95) which came with basmati rice. I ordered a side of Butter Naan ($1.95) and Raita (which they forgot to include, and fortunately forgot to charge me for). I asked for a plate, fork, and napkin, took my meal back to my room, and enjoyed it with a 2004 Mugneret-Gibourg Echezeaux (did I just say that?) Yes, yes I did.
And wow, what a combination. Think “Ravi Kabob” when you think of Paradise’s “Lamb Curry.” It was boneless chunks of halal lamb, in a brownish, granular gravy, without much of anything else going on, and it was delicious. Spicy, but not too spicy, with the essence of lamb flavor in every single chunk. The rice and the naan were neutral vehicles to sop up the curry which was extremely Pakistani in spirit.
For a 9:30 PM carryout dish, in a crummy interstate motel, and a complete unknown Indo-Pak restaurant, I’m willing to bet I had one of the best dishes served in Gwynn Park on this evening. Call it blind luck, skill in evaluation and ordering, or a gift from God, but just call it … victory.
Not awesome, not italic, and this restaurant is known more for its banquets and buffet lunches; but, gosh this meal was good, and it could have been really, really bad. Whoever butchers and wholesales this lamb is doing a very, very good job. A disaster averted!