Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sumner Street food court

Mehak, a restaurant serving "Halal Pakistani and Indian Cuisine" at 329 Sumner Street in East Boston, opened just a few days ago, and the first reports are just making their way to the Internet. To summarize: the food is good and inexpensive, but some kinks need to be worked out. I haven't made it there yet, but I hope to check it out soon.

I was across the street from Mehak last night, at Italian Express, just after 10 p.m. It was late, but I was in the mood for a snack, so I stopped in for a slice. The guys were cleaning up, but they're always friendly and they heated me up one of their giant slices. As I was about to leave, they loaded me up with three more slices "on the house" (one of which didn't survive the drive home).

Used to be that you could get slices of pizza all over East Boston, but not any more. I'm happy that I can pop into Italian Express for a slice that is both sizable and tasty. The chicken parm sub I had there a few weeks ago was good as well. Check it out.

Update (4/22): I made it to Mehak last night and found the early feedback on target. The food was delicious and inexpensive -- and the waitstaff was friendly -- but there are a number of logistical wrinkles that need to be worked out. I will certainly be back.


Alison said...

My boyfriend and I tried to visit Mehak last night. We walked in and it smelled delicious and the food looked great, however, the place is very very small and every seat was taken. We waited for about 5 minutes and no one even acknowledged our presence, so we took a menu and left. I know the place is new, so I won't hold it against them, I was just a little disappointed. But a nice thing is that they deliver (though we literally live just down the street, so I might feel a little stupid ordering delivery).

I am really excited to have a new restaurant in the neighborhood, it will be a nice addition and I can't wait to try their food.

N.starluna said...

Can you be more specific about "logistical wrinkles"? I don't know what that means. Is it the wait issue that Alison described? Or something else?

Alison said...

I finally got to try it last night. The food was very good and for a filling dinner for two, it was only $22. The down side was that we ordered take out and the order took over an hour to come out of the kitchen. Luckily, we live just around the corner, so we were able to come back home and wait while it was prepared.

My suggestion, at least for now, is to not wait until you're hungry to order!!

That said, I will definitely be back because it was delicious :)

Jim said...

With the understanding that Mehak had just been open a few days, the "logistical wrinkles" that I mentioned earlier were: I was seated right away, but waited much too long (maybe 12 minutes) just to get a menu; the first thing I ordered (chicken samosa) was not available; and when one of my dishes did arrive, it was missing the main ingredient (chicken, which was brought to me after I pointed out the error).

In response I was given a free appetizer AND another dish was taken off the bill. So, as a result, I ate well and the total came to $8! (Of course, I upped my tip as a result.)

The waiter/owner kept apologizing and he clearly needed some help in the front of the house (which arrived about halfway through my meal). I can see how in the first days of a restaurant it can be difficult to judge how much help is needed both up front and in the kitchen AND how much of certain ingredients to keep on hand.

The food was really good, the staff was friendly and I was filled up for just a few bucks. As long as the problems are identified and smoothed out over the coming weeks, then I'll be happy.

James said...

Went there last night and the food was excellent. Their Pakistani menu seems similar to Indian food, but with quite different intensity of flavors than I expect at a typical Indian restaurant. The Chicken Ashka (or Ashki) is the first item on the chicken dishes in the menu and it was fascinating.

The other dishes and desserts were great too. Will definitely go back more often.

Logistical wrinkles, Starluna, are just that - you will notice them when you go, but no big deal. I find simliar "wrinkles" in most Eastie restaurants when they first open up, especially the ones that are the most homemade "grandmother's kitchen" kind of feeling, like the Moroccan place on Bennington that closed soon after opening.

I think it is part of the charm of these restaurants and a peculiarity of Eastie that from Santaripos on down through all our restaurants, they each have their own concepts of "service" and you have to approach each restaurant with a different mindset and different ordering strategy.

For many Eastie restaurants, you have to be laid back and expect that things might take longer and not come out as planned. But if you are patient and open minded, you can have some truly amazing culinary experiences in this neighborhood that I strongly believe are more authentic and cannot be replicated with such frequency in any other one area of greater Boston.