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Scott -- DFW

[DFW] Zyka

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Zyka sits in the corner of the Beltline/I-75 strip mall that contains Taj Mahal Imports, Bombay Chinese, and Hot Breads. In format, it falls in the fast casual category--styrofoam plates, plastic utensils, no table service, but a fuller menu than one would expect from a true fast food restaurant. Decor is spartan. Seating is ample.

A number of Hyderabadi specialties distinguishes Zyka's menu from the competition. We started our lunch with an appetizer of "Chicken 65," which they claim won critical awards at their sister restaurant in Atlanta. Tender chunks of ginger- and garlic-marinated chicken were fried to crispness and served with jalapeno slices, cilantro, and tamarind and mint dipping sauces. The sauces were merely adequate, but the chicken was very enjoyable. For entrees, we had dal Hyderabadi (pureed lentils with tomato, cilantro, mint, and cumin) and Hyderabadi mutton biryani (mildly flavored mutton cooked with rice, yogurt, saffron, cloves, et al.). The biryani came with a side dish of an unusually oniony (but good) raita. For bread, we had a fresh, buttery paratha. Portions were generous. And the overall quality was suprisingly good, especially given the low price point. Appetizers range from $2.49 to $4.49. Entrees range from $3.49 to $4.99.

Tasty, quick, cheap, different, and conveniently located near the best Indian grocer in town. What's not to like? I'll update this (perhaps with some photos) after I've had a chance to return.

Scott

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Damn I need to come down and eat some Indian some time. Texans should thank Michael Dell and other tech leaders for helping you guys get good Indian food. I think I could just come down and eat BBQ, Mexican, and Indian and never have to touch another cuisine in Texas.

I look forward to the photos.

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A friend and I went to Zyka about a month or so ago.

I had:

Aachar Gosht:

A Hyderabadi specialty, goat meat is simmered with fresh tomatoes, fried onions, fresh cilantro and tempered with whole garlic, cloves, fennel seeds and whole red chillies.

$4.99

She had:

Kadhai Chicken (boneless)

Boneless chicken pieces cooked in an Indian wok with garden fresh tomatoes, ginger juliennes and coarsely ground spices.

$4.99

Neither was really noteworthy and I didn't think that I'd be back, but I might be willing to give it another try. Maybe we caught them on an off day. It wasn't bad, mind you, and I do want to try the lassis.

I also want to try the vegetarian place on the other side of Taj.


Edited by nessa (log)

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Sounds good, I will have to try it soon. I have just started eating Indian food again. I was in Southern India for a month and got "burnt out" Not that I don't like Indian, but curry powder in the hash browns for breakfast was just to much :laugh:


Never trust a skinny chef

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i10393.jpg

Okay, the jury's still out on this one. I went back last night and had two more entrees--malai kofta and chilli chicken. i10391.jpg

The veggie curry was mediocre buffet quality and the chicken was only slightly better. A dessert of pista kulfi (served in a small clay flowerpot!) had good flavor, but was very icy--so much so near the bottom that it was like a crystallized mille feuille.

i10392.jpg

Still a decent value; but this meal was of more fast-food quality than the first. I'll probably be back, in hopes of finding more winners on the menu.

Thanks for chiming in, Nessa. I too would be interested in hearing reports on Udipi Cafe. For some reason, I've never gone there. And has Hot Breads improved any? I went there a few times right after they opened and found flavors and freshness wanting. (I had much better luck with their Irving location, though it's been a while since I've been there.)

Scott


Edited by Scott -- DFW (log)

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Is Hot Breads the place between Zyka and Taj? I wasn't impressed with them, but I chalked that up to not having an Indian palate. Cumin and salt in shortbread was a nasty surprise to me. However, the proprietors were very kind and let us taste all manners of things. I ended up getting some stuff that was good, but I don't remember what. I prefer the candy counter inside Taj. :wub:

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Nessa,

That's the place. Like you, I was disappointed with it. (I've heard the same from Indian friends.) However, the few occasions when I've been to their Irving location, the quality has been much, much better. I'm attaching a couple of old reviews below, so others can get a sense of what we're talking about. The first one is for the Irving location. The second is for the Richardson spot next to Taj Mahal Imports.

Scott

-----------------------------

Hot Breads is an international chain bakery, fusing French baking and Indian flavors. Last weekend, I finally had a chance to swing by and size it up. It was well worth the trip. (The only DFW location currently open is on MacArthur in Irving, north a bit from Cool River Cafe. A larger one is under construction next door to Taj Mahal Imports at the intersection of Beltline and Central. [Note: The Richardson one is now open.])

The bakery's offerings are divided (more or less) into thirds. Wooden shelves hold whole loaves of various breads (including fruit cakes), while a long glass case is split between dessert items and savory pastries. The only seating consists of a few tables for two along one of the walls.

Savory pastries offered a variety of fillings/toppings. For meats, the options were chicken tikka, curried chicken, goat keema, and chicken hot dog (though it looks nothing like a traditional hot dog). For non-meats, paneer, spinach, aloo capsicum, egg/mint, and mixed veggies. To add even more variety, each flavor was offered in multiple formats. So you could get a chicken tikka Danish, croissant, mini-pizza, plait, bun, or puff. With all of those options, I was only able to try a few: chicken tikka Danish and croissant; curried chicken pizza and puff; goat keema croissant; chicken mayonnaise hot dog; and aloo capsicum bun. I was very pleasantly surprised by the bread quality across the formats. Even without considering the fillings, these were very good pastries (especially the croissants, buns, and Danish). But the fillings also surpassed expectations, all being good to very good (favorites being the curried chicken and goat keema). I only wish I'd had more room to try some of the other vegetarian offerings (especially since the aloo capsicum bun was one of the best items I had).

Desserts included fruit tartlets, cakes, mousses (chocolate and strawberry), and cookies. After the savory pastries, I didn't have much room for dessert. But I managed. I tried a slice of black forest cake--layers of cream and chocolate cake with a touch of coconut and shaved chocolate on top. The cream helped compensate for dryness in the cake, but didn't elevate it from mediocrity. (According to the clerk it is their most popular dessert.) Also tried an Irish creme coffee cake. This one was pretty good--light, smooth, moist, and creamy, with good flavors. (The clerk said it was their best dessert.) I also tried several cookies (sold by the pound): sugar, butter, almond, and two savory cookies (one masala and one with caraway seed). Cookies were light, crumbly, and understated in flavor. I took a half pound of the savory cookies with me and tried them out on a few friends and family members, drawing sharply divided reactions. None of the desserts were outstanding (though none were bad, either). But, given the price point, you can't expect too much. Speaking of price point, each pastry (savory and dessert) sold for either $1.25 or $1.50.

---------------------------------------

Last night, I went to the new location of Hot Breads in Richardson (next to Taj Mahal Imports). While the store is larger than the Irving location, the selection of pastries was smaller. Also, you can't see the baking area, whereas the Irving location has a open kitchen. I'm not sure if they're baking the pastries on-site there or not. Regardless, everything we got (curried chicken croissant, mixed veggie croissant, chicken tikka plait, goat keema bun, broccoli quiche) was stale in taste and texture. The lack of selection and the staleness may have been simply because we went in the evening, rather than earlier in the day. (The visit to the Irving location was around midday.) If I go back to this one, it definitely won't be in the evening. [i did go back once on a Saturday morning and it wasn't much better. Slightly larger selection, but still below average pastries. But they have a pool table, which is a nice touch in any bakery.]

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Zyka in Atlanta's very good and quite popular. It's located in a heavily Indian area with lots of different Indian dining and shopping options.

We pretty much always get takeaway, and favorites include butter chicken and ground chicken kebabs. Their raita is made with mint, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes.

It tends to be too greasy, so I skim extra fat off the top of the containers before serving at home. They also recently stopped serving ras malai, too bad is it was some of the best in town.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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Therese,

Thanks for the input. I tried the butter chicken a couple of nights ago. Darker in flavor than I'm used to with that dish, but very tasty. Much more in line quality-wise with my first meal there. $8 for a dinner for two on a Saturday night. I'll keep plugging away at the menu.

Scott

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