"I pushed my way back through the knots of people, turning my shoulders into narrow gaps, and twisted out the door into the cold and dark of the night. The sudden quiet and the chill in the air was sudden, like a slap. I walked into the parking lot, lit a cigarette, and leaned against my car--marveling at the distance a few steps can take you. The difference between there and here.
In New York, there are pocket neighborhoods you can slip into and be 5,000 miles away in a matter of a few paces. You can live there for years and never know about them, never stumble into them. Albuquerque has strip malls where no English is ever spoken. In Denver, there are corners you can turn where, in the space of a single step, even the air is different; where it can go from winter to summer, from Colorado to Saigon or Addis Ababa or Moscow, and the smells of foreign spices can change the way you think about distance forever.
Mayuri is like that: a tesseract door, a swirl of color and spice, the smell of strange latitudes--and suddenly, you're gone."
From this week's review of Mayuri Indian Cuisine in BellevueYes, as Frank so skillfully (and eventually) guessed for this week's "Guess Where I'm Eating" game, tomorrow's review is of Mayuri--a North/South mash-up of Indian cuisine, a forgotten knuckle of Andhra Pradesh poking up into Central India where the Southern idli and rice flour crepes and tin cups of sambar collide with tandoori meats from Punjab and Bengali seafood, coconut milk from Kerala and imperial Mughal spices, kormas and biryanis. An impossible place, as invented as anything, but made real on Mayuri's menu and floor.
It also happens to be one of the busiest restaurants I've run across in nine months of eating my way through Seattle and the 'burbs, necessitating the sudden retreat into the cool and calm of the parking lot detailed above. I'm not so good with crowds sometimes, and Mayuri was nothing if not crowded.
As always, you can check out the full review online and on the newsstands tomorrow. And be sure to keep an eye out for the Food Porn slideshow that'll come at the end of the week. The only thing better than the way great Indian food tastes is the way it looks on the plate, so this slideshow is bound to be a good one.