Fridays are so overrated.
In our youth, Fridays are the benchmark for excitement and prospects. Pizza lunches, sleepovers, sleeping in... maybe mom will even bring home takeout for dinner.
As adults, Fridays are exhausting. We build up in our heads what Fridays should be, built partially on the ideals and projections we concoct in our younger days. But the obligations and efforts of "functioning adult human" status leaves few of us with much energy to do, well, anything on a Friday night. We might meet up with friends, but we're still so wiped from the week prior that we just mill about in a fog of longing to please just get me into my bed.
Takeout on a Friday is a near necessity as we (and our list of responsibilities) grow.
Maybe this is a sign of aging. Maybe, at 29, I'm turning into a curmudgeon, perpetually disappointed by everything around me. On a recent Friday night, after closing down the laptop for the night after a day of work, I headed home for the evening, overwhelmed with the concept of actually having to cook something once I reached the kitchen door.
A new Indian restaurant -- Nirvana -- recently opened in a Route 20 location in Guilderland that has changed hands and names so many times, I barely notice the shift anymore. But the parking lot was packed, I was hungry, and some version of a curry would be just fine. I placed an order on Mealeo (on Friday, give me as little interaction with other people as possible), sat in my car, and waited. (Well, I read a bit. And I took a catnap.) After 20 minutes I retrieved my order.
$32 and change later, I walked out with an order of Navataran (vegetable) korma ($12.99), chicken tikka masala ($12.99), basmati rice and two orders of naan ($2.49 each). I didn't even have high hopes for the outcome and fulfillment gained from plopping down at home with mini-buffet of Indian delights ahead of me. You see, I've been lucky enough to Indian food on multiple continents, but the closest I'll ever get to true Indian cuisine is watching Eat, Pray, Love for a second (okay... fifteenth) time. Somehow Indian food is rarely what I think it should be.
But wait - what was that I tasted? A bit of hope on an aimless Friday night?
Indeed it was. After feeling a bit regretful that perhaps I had ordered far too much food to consume alone (Nirvana threw in an order of papadums with assorted chutneys and tamarind sauce), the sights and smells were enticing. I couldn't wait to dig in.
The naan, placed in an insulated takeout bag, had only just begun to steam and lose its crispy charred exterior. Not enough to make it limp and sad, but just the right texture to sop-up leftover sauces and bits of rice. Thick and chewy, it was my perfect version of naan.
The chicken tikka masala featured large cubes of white chicken meat with visible puncture marks from being skewered and cooked on the grill. The tomato sauce, creamy and the color of persimmon, was slightly sweet and moderately spicy. Chopped onions and blistered red peppers offered more texture, but the chicken and sauce alone were enough to have me craving another bite before the current one was swallowed. (This is one of those single-people issues, that fear of choking on your chicken tikka masala and no one being there to save you.)
The highlight, for me, was that korma. It reminded me of a chunky, vegetable-laden version of butternut bisque. The heat level was mild, but the array of spices that danced throughout, artfully combined and masterfully measured, made this korma the best I've tasted this side of the Atlantic. The sauce was thin enough to keep it from being cloying but rich enough to coat the yams, peas, potatoes, and onions that bobbed in a sea of subcontinental flavor.
With good takeout, maybe all is not lost on Friday nights. Nirvana offered me that glimmer of hope after a trying week. And the best part? There was enough left over on Saturday morning to serve alongside a fried egg or two.
5180 Western Turnpike
Guilderland, NY 12009
We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.