When I found out that Himalayas, the area’s only Nepalese restaurant, had closed, I wasn’t entirely surprised. The two times we dined/got take out from there, service was abysmal. Thankfully another cuisine from “that part of the world” went in so the space is neither empty nor offering up the ubiquitous suburban pizza option. Not in the mood to travel too far for ethnic food is how I ended up trying out Spice Village a few weeks ago.
What sets Spice Village apart from the area’s other Indian restaurants is that it’s actually Pakistani-Indian in terms of cuisine, thus making it one of the few Halal restaurants in the region. While I’m somewhat ignorant on the nuances between Pakistani and Indian cuisine, I would think a lot of it is quite similar. But I did see a few dishes I was completely unfamiliar with so perhaps they were more Pakistani in nature or found in parts of India that are near to the border it shares with Pakistan.
To start off, we both ordered a cup of the Kashmiri Chai ($2.99) or pink chai as it is also known. While not nearly as sweet as the chai lattes I’m used to (yes, I know American chai lattes are hardly authentic), I still enjoyed the taste although both D and I took our waiter’s advice and added some sugar. Later on I learned that the pinkness of the color comes from the reaction of the tea with the baking soda. Kashmiri chais contain nuts and you could definitely taste their more buttery flavor.
For appetizers, we typically get samosas but being at a completely new place I wanted to try something else so we ordered the Pani-Puri ($3.99). These are flour crisps with puffed rice, heaps of potato, onion, and tomato, and topped with yogurt, tamarind, mint chutney, and herbs. They definitely had a spicy kick to them. I enjoyed them although I wasn’t expecting them to be cold.
For my main course, I opted for a dish I’ve now had a couple of times before, the Baingan Bhurta ($9.99). This consists of eggplant that’s been roasted in a tandoor oven and then cooked with ginger, onions, and tomatoes. I liked it, I just wish there had been more eggplant.
D also deviated from his traditional go-tos and ordered the Hydrabadi Dhum Biryani ($13.99) which is aged basmati rice that’s then cooked with meat (he selected chicken) in layers over dhum (a special low cooking method). You could also choose goat, lamb, or vegetable. The portion was extremely large and he had more than enough for a second meal.
And as we typically do, we also split an order of the Kashmiri Naan ($3.99) which consisted of two larges pieces, so more than enough for two people to share.
The food at Spice Village was great and the service impeccable. Don’t delay in trying this great new addition to Pittsburgh’s suburban scene and support a locally owned business too.
20455 US-19 | Cranberry Twp, PA |16066