FIPS Food Throwdowns is a series where we order the same exact thing from two different Park Slope restaurants, get it delivered, and evaluate which was better. It's a culinary smackdown...a triumph of the delivery will.
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! Everybody loves a violent, knuckle-filled brouhaha, right? It's in OUR BLOOD, people. Cavemen & shit. Hell, even I got my start on this here blog by pitting various Park Slope blocks against each other in TOTALLY EPIC BATTLES. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
With that in mind, I'm reviving an age-old FiPS tradition--The FiPS Food Throwdown. By tossing two neighborhood businesses into our metaphorical squared circle & ordering the exact same goods and/or services from them, we'll prove once & for all which of the two is OBVIOUSLY BETTER.
In the hood, there have always been a handful of Indian restaurants. Some blow snot rockets. Some don't. Today's two competitors are Indian restaurants that have been open in Park Slope for a while now: 5th Ave's Kinara & 7th Ave's Amin Indian Cuisine. On New Year's Day, I grabbed the same takeout order from both--Aloo Gobi & Veggie Samosas--and absconded back to my apartment to see the results.
Kinara, 473 5th Ave (btwn 10th & 11th)
When I stopped by Kinara on New Year's Day, the restaurant was empty. I chalked this up to the fact that nobody wants Indian food after a night of getting wasted. After a ten-minute wait, mostly for the guy to go downstairs to get me sauces, I was out the door. Total cost: Veggie Samosas ($3.95) + Aloo Gobi ($9.95) + Tax = $15.25
I always like starting off at an Indian restaurant with a few samosas for the table. At Kinara, I'd probably pass on the tradition. The outside was dry, and the inside, which promised potatoes & peas, only delivered potato & dough...with a stray pea or two. Overall, they were bland as all hell. Luckily, they provided me with four sauces (runny cole slaw, mango chutney, green mint? and sweet spicy brown) to stave off the blandness.
Their Aloo Gobi--potato & cauliflower with cumin & spices--comes in an orange-tinged sauce that had a tiny bit of flavor, but was seriously lacking in the spice department. The potatoes were dry, but acceptable. The cauliflower was mushier than I'd prefer. As for the rice, it was your average Indian rice, but they only sprinkled ten peas on top. I guess they were having a pea shortage that day.
They did include the aforementioned sauces along with some Naan, which was kinda crumbly & overly charred in places, but ultimately pretty good.
Amin Indian Cuisine, 54 7th Ave (btwn St. John’s & Lincoln)
There was nobody in Amin either, further confirming my theory regarding Indian food & NYE hangovers. The friendly woman at the counter initially told me 5-10 minutes and then, for some odd reason, settled on six minutes. I stepped outside for a smoke, then came back in & sat at a table while reflecting on the current state of my 2013. Fifteen minutes after placing my order, I was on my way. Total cost: Veggie Samosas ($2.95) + Aloo Gobi ($9.25) + Tax = $13.20
After trying Kinara's samosas, I was assuming the worst, but was pleasantly surprised by a lighter outside & a filling that contained corn, carrot & tiny beans along with the potato. There was less miscellaneous filling than in Kinara's, which meant that the veggies stood out more, leading to a tastier samosa.
When it comes to Aloo Gobi, there are always slight variations from restaurant to restaurant. In this case, Amin most varied from Kinara in their sauce, a masala which was yellower & sweeter. The cauliflower retained some firmness & the potatoes were less dry than Kinara‘s. They even tossed in a couple of tomato chunks for good measure. Their rice was also fairly standard, but it did have a few orange pieces sprinkled in, so YAY COLOR & junk.
Well, um...there were no extras here. No bread. No sauce. No nothing. Not even a plastic fork. I guess that explains the $2 difference in price. Luckily, Kinara had given me a shitload of sauces to dip my samosas in.
OBVIOUS WINNER: Amin Indian Cuisine. In the end, while they took slightly longer to ready my order & offered no extras, the quality of their food was definitely better & came at a lower price. Sorry, Kinara. You've been SMACKED DOWN!!!
Read way more from Shawn at eatdrinksnack.com & eatdrinktaco.com.