by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
June 13, 2003
I woke up one morning with an unmistakable craving for food of the Indian variety, and after dragging Liron out of his room at the hostel, we walked up to Gastown on the hunt for an affordable place to satiate the urge. This would be Liron’s first time trying this type of cuisine, and probably about my 200th time around the Indian food block.
We settled on Sitar because the other Indian place down the street looked a little slim shady. We arrived at around 11:30am and took up one of the only two occupied tables. Our server had an air of confident elegance about him as he seated us near the back window and politely took our drink order. The menu had a great selection, with plenty of meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetable dishes to choose from. Between picking out my eats and dishing out advice to Liron on what to get, I smiled at the surroundings--rich fabrics depicting religious images hanging from and around the upstairs balcony, along with brick walls and a mock-shingled roof that gave the illusion of sitting in a private house. I decided on vegetable pakora and naan bread to share as appetizers, and went for the Mutter Paneer, Indian cheese cubes and peas, as my main dish. Carnivore that he is, Liron picked the Keema Paneer, ground meat and peas cooked in ginger, garlic, and spicy sauce. Both of us bravely ordered them spicy.
The pakora was fantabulous, accompanied by a sweet plum sauce and tangy mint chutney. The naan was equally tasty, served soft, fluffy, and piping hot. After finishing off the appetizers, the waiter/possible owner brought our main dishes, which came with a plate of basmati rice to share. We scooped out our respective dishes from the small bronze bowls and dug in. Honestly, this was some of the tastiest Indian food I’ve had in quite some time. The cheese and peas were soft, the sauce spicy. No, the sauce wasn’t spicy--it was hot! Damn hot! About halfway through, Liron and I just stopped eating and pointed out how much the other was sweating. Our waiter came out to check on us and we told him, "Everything is perfect, and man is this spicy!" He smiled, turned around, and walked back towards the front area quietly laughing to himself.
It seems that whenever I’m visiting a new city, whether Atlanta, Chattanooga, or now Vancouver, I always seem to sniff out a lovely Indian restaurant. Sitar effortlessly maintained that tradition. And the lunch prices were slammin’--for two entrees, basmati rice, appetizer, and bread, our tab ran C$30.
From journal ". . .and then the clouds lifted"