Punjab Cafe: Dal Makhni

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Punjab Cafe was highly recommended by a friend who’s been eating there since childhood. It took me a while to try it because there’s a good Indian restaurant closer to the subway station (in Quincy, a few miles south of Boston). But after trying this incredible food, I doubt I’ll go back to the other place.

I ordered Dal Makhni on my first visit, and it was so great that I got it the next time too. This dish has black lentils cooked with mild spices and topped with fresh cilantro. The lentils have the perfect bite, and the sauce is herbaceous without being spicy. This combination can be difficult to find on a curry-filled menu. Also, the long-grain rice is fragrant and so delicious. During my first meal here, I found a whole cardamom pod in the rice bowl, so I knew it was legit.

I didn’t order an appetizer, but every table gets a trio of dips with crispy cumin-seed crackers. The crackers are flavorful, but I don’t recommend the dips for GERD—they are all acidic and spicy.

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This meal was a restaurant win, but only because I was careful. I didn’t order appetizers or any buttery, filling naan. And although I ate my entire dish of dal, I didn’t have a ton of rice. (Overfilling the stomach is a common cause of acid reflux.) If you can resist the curries and keep yourself from digging into the dips, you can have a reflux-free Indian meal.

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