Order Up: Usmania Pakistani Restaurant

Categories: Order Up, Review
haleem.jpg
John Linn
The Pakistani dish haleem is a thick, meat porridge.
You can try a lot of unique ethnic dishes at Usmania Pakistani Restaurant in Plantation, the subject of this week's dish review. One of my favorites was nihari, a spicy stew filled with shredded beef shank. You squirt lemon on the thick stew and scoop it up in swaths with torn pieces of naan bread that Usmania makes in house.
 
A similar dish, haleem, sports the same beefy flavor but a texture that's something like porridge. And then there's the brain masala, a curry cooked in a type of wok called a karahi that's made with fresh goat brain. I haven't tried it yet (I'll talk about why in an upcoming column), but I plan to.

Granted, brain might be a little much for some American diners, but there's also a wealth of Indian-style dishes that make Usmania a great destination for fans of the cuisine. Their naan is exceptional, and everything from korma to butter chicken (pictured below) is available for less than $7. The review drops tomorrow; here's an excerpt until then.
Usmania is the lone South Florida location of the popular Pakistani franchise with outposts in Karachi, Pakistan and Chicago. It's run by Aftab Katia and his wife Fouzia, two natives of Karachi with a background in catering. The place is a real family affair: their children work in the restaurant, and on weekends it fills with members of a tight knit community of immigrants.

For those that haven't dabbled in Pakistani food, the cuisine shares a lot in common with that of Northern India; the major difference being the country's adherence to Muslim - not Hindu - tradition. Beef and halal meat are staples, and flatbreads like naan, chapati, and paratha are favored over rice.
kebabroll.jpg
John Linn
Kebab rolls are made with flatbread and filled with tandoori chicken, onions, cilantro, and spicy chutney.
butterchicken.jpg
John Linn
Indian dishes such as butter chicken are well-cooked and full on flavor.


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