Ambassador 21 Offers Cuisine Of India And Pakistan
Step inside the plush surroundings of Ambassador 21 and you’ll feel as if you've been swept away to an Indian palace. Luxurious woven carpets and richly colored draperies adorn the floors and walls. Cushions are set upon intricately carved wooden banquettes. The tables are dressed in crisp, white linens and set with gold-rimmed dishes and copper goblets that keep the contents cool and refreshing. Diners can sit on cushions on raised platforms and enjoy traditional cuisine of the sub-continent in the traditional manner as well.
For all this luxury and fine service, the prices at Ambassador 21 remain quite reasonable. While alcohol is not served at Ambassador 21, patrons can bring in their own wine or beer, which also helps to keep costs low. Mr. Kazmi, the kind and soft-spoken owner, often makes the rounds to ensure that his guests are happy and comfortable. Live music enhances the dining experience on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
The wide array of appetizers is one of the attractions of Indian cuisine. The chef at Ambassador 21 makes delicious starters such as kachori, little mountains of potatoes and spices assembled on crisp lentil chips, then topped with yogurt sauce and mint ($4.95). This unique delicacy will whet your appetite for more delicious morsels such as samosas, triangular shaped pastries filled with seasoned meat or potatoes ($3.50). My favorite is sabzi rolls, light and crispy wrappers stuffed with vegetables and spices and served with their own tomato chutney ($3.95). You can also start with chickpea salad, mixed with onion, chilies and coriander, or mulligatawny soup, full of lentils with a touch of mild spice.
The entrees at Ambassador 21 come from the varied regions of Indian and Pakistan. Only the freshest ingredients are used and the food is never oily or salty, allowing the pure flavor of the fine food to come through. Entrees include chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetarian dishes; so all diners can find their favorites. I loved the mango chicken curry with creamy sauce flavored with dry chilies; curry leaves and mustard seed, served over a mound of fluffy basmati rice. There was still plenty for lunch the next day. Chicken do piyaza, cubed chicken cooked with onions, bell peppers and tomatoes, is finished with coriander and herbs for a hearty and flavorful dish.
You'll find the seafood unlike any you’ve had before. The selection includes a specialty of Bangladesh called sorse bata maach, flaky white fish cooked in garlic mustard sauce, flavored with green chilies and spices. Shrimp turiya is cooked in a mild creamy sauce which allows the flavor of the fresh, plump shrimp to come through. Fish Baagh Bandhu is cooked with split peas, and ground coconut for a unique flavor that I really enjoyed ($15.95).
In the dish called Naliwala, lamb is served with onion and tomato sauce that is flavored with a cinnamon stick. If you dare, try the lamb vindaloo, a fiery dish from Goa, a former Portuguese colony of India, that is marinated in a spicy sauce ($12.95). Goat curry, while foreign to many Americans, is a popular and tasty dish worth trying for its rich and hearty flavor. Don’t forget the clay tandoor oven which makes the most juicy and flavorful meats, homemade kebabs and chicken that falls off the bone. Order a mixed grill for a sampling of all these delectable meats.
Vegetarians can enjoy many wonderful options such as daal, yellow lentils cooked in garlic and ginger. Chickpea stew with mild spices is another great choice, and all dishes come with basmati rice. Indian breads such as nan, poori and kulcha are ordered separately and cost only about $3 for a basket full. Whether you’re a vegetarian or prefer meat, poultry or seafood, let the pleasant wait staff know if you prefer your food spicy or mild and the chef will gladly oblige.
Finish your meal with cool coconut flan, mango mousse or rasmalay, with homemade cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Mango lassi, a yogurt and fruit shake, cools and refreshes after your wonderful meal.
At the top of a beautiful wooden stairway is Ambassador 21's beautiful dining room for private parties of up to 100 people. Buffet style or sit down dinners can be arranged for an office party or family gathering. The service is excellent and the atmosphere is beautiful and serene.
Ambassador 21 is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. There’s a fabulous lunch special each day for $5.95 to $8.95 that includes many of the items from the dinner menu. Don’t forget the live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Take your friends, since Indian cuisine is best when shared. BYOB and a big appetite for a lovely meal at Ambassador 21.