Dish of the Week: Palak paneer at Moon Indian Cuisine
All of Atlanta knows that Buford Highway is lined with affordable, authentic ethnic eats. But for real-deal, inexpensive Indian fare further west, have you checked out Moon Indian Cuisine?
The Brookhaven location at the intersection of Johnson Ferry and Ashford-Dunwoody roads has been around for five years now, while a sister restaurant (same name, same concept, different owners) opened last year on Chastain Meadows Parkway in Marietta. The latter offers a more expansive menu, including some Indo-Chinese offerings, but when it comes to Indian fare, they share the same recipes.
The scratch kitchen impressed from the first bite of complimentary crispy, thin disks of urad dal papad with a trio of traditional chutneys – imli chutney (tamarind), hari chutney (a mixture of cilantro and mint) and sweet-hot onion.
The surprise star was the palak paneer, besting other entrees like kababs of tandoori chicken, lamb tikka and shrimp as well as a Rogan Josh, highly aromatic as that slow-cooked lamb stew was.
A sure pick for the veg crowd, the cubes of fresh house-made cheese were firm yet with a soft, warm center. And the palak was everything that’s wonderful about a spinach curry made with care: the color vibrantly dark green, the garlic present yet not overpowering, the gravy thick and rich without being too creamy.
The wallet-friendly way to get these greens at Moon Indian is to hit up the Brookhaven location up for a weekday lunch when you can eat this cheesy spinach delight along with mulligatawny soup, an appetizer (vegetable samosa, vegetable pakora or onion bhajee), dal, fabulous house-made naan, rice and a dessert of either rice pudding or spongy milk balls called gulab jamun in a sweet, rose-flavored syrup – all for $9. Or head to Marietta, where you can enjoy all that and more on the $10 lunch buffet, offered daily.