4110 Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Major credit cards accepted.
For all the charms of Indian cuisine, the restaurants serving it seldom break new ground with their menus or ambience.
But Kabab Corner, a relatively recent arrival on the Medford dining scene, is a refreshing departure from the tried and true. Sure, there are samosas and lassis, malai kofta and tandoori chicken. But there are wonderful dosas from south India and contemporary Bombay-inspired appetizers, which I haven’t seen on many other menus.
Hidden away at the far end of a strip mall abutting busy Wellington Circle, the restaurant is bright and airy, with big windows and high ceilings. The neutral décor is reminiscent of
The music (Bollywood dance party, anyone?) is also a marked departure from the sleepy sitar soundtrack that’s often heard at other Indian restaurants. It might not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s certainly distinctive.
Kabab Corner’s varied appetizers provide an especially strong start to a meal. The dahi sev poori ($6) was like nothing I’ve eaten before: light-as-air lentil crisps and potato cubes drenched with tangy whipped yogurt and sweet tamarind sauce. Simultaneously crunchy yet creamy, tart yet sweet, it was a welcome change of pace from the usual pakoras and samosas.
The appetizers also include various dosas, crispy crepes made of rice and lentils. The lamb dosa ($11) was delicious, its chewy minced lamb filling offset by soft potatoes and onions. It was wonderful when dipped either in the provided sambar (a lentil-based vegetable soup) or coconut chutney.
Moving on to the entrees, the chili paneer ($13) was a delightful pairing of soft homemade cheese with flavorful ginger, garlic, and green chilies. The baingan bhartha ($12), roasted eggplant with ginger, garlic, onions, and spices, was extremely flavorful, a far cry from the many bland and mushy incarnations of this dish.
The peshawari naan ($4), Indian flatbread stuffed with almonds, cashews, raisins, coconut, and honey, almost upstaged the entrees. This sweet delicacy leaves little need for dessert.
Aside from this over-the-top naan, Kabab Corner’s fare seems lighter than most Indian food. The lassis ($3), while tasty, are somewhat watery, more a juice than the customary milkshake-style beverage. The chicken tikka masala ($14) isn’t swimming in the usual buttery sauce, although it has enough spice that there’s not much sacrifice on flavor.
The same cannot be said of the reshmi kabab ($14), chunks of chicken marinated in sour cream and spices and cooked in a clay oven. Save this for the member of your party who can’t tolerate bold flavors.
At $6.50 on weekdays and $8 on weekends, the lunch buffet, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., is a great way to sample widely from the expansive menu.