Silvercoin Indian Grill

First off, this post is dedicated to my wonderful foodie friend who has much more experience with Indian food than I do. Her knowledge of Indian food is nearly encyclopedic. She deserves credit for helping me figure out the names of some of the foods shown here, and for introducing us to Silvercoin when we moved to Birmingham!

Often, when I mention that I have a restaurant blog, an early question that arises is, what is your favorite Indian food in town? Although I do really love Taj and have blogged about it, and also love Mughal and the Sitar in Tuscaloosa (both on my “to blog” list), I have a special place in my heart for Silvercoin. While I have my favorite dishes at Taj, everything I have ever tried at Silvercoin is incredible. And, it is served with such grace and kindness, especially from the owners (I think), a man and woman who check on you from time to time between courses, make conversation, and above all give the place a homey feel.

This post is a mash-up of two trips to Silvercoin-so that you don’t think we are this piggy!

On our most recent visit last week, when we arrived, there was a bit of a wait for a table. While waiting, we ran into some friends and began trading insider information about favorite dishes. We all agreed that the masala dosa, a crepe filled with spiced potatoes and nuts, is a must. Another dish that I love but had not tried at Silvercoin was chicken briyani, spiced rice that in my experience is often served but hard to perfect.

We also saw this sign and took it as a sign:
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When they located a table for us, they didn’t like the cleanliness of the floor beneath it so in a flurry of motion they moved the table halfway across the restaurant for us. Everyone in that section of the restaurant laughed-that’s service!

When you are seated, you immediately get a basket of fresh papadum and mint and tamarind chutney . Light and great for snacking. My understanding is that these are heat dried rather than fried.

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We always order a mango lassi at every Indian restaurant. The cardamom flavor was prominent but not overpowering; it was frothy and very refreshing.

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Then, the carrot pickle. Very spicy. We ate a little bit on its own, which was good, but not as good as when combined with the food we ordered. We put it on and in everything, and it made everything that much better.

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Next, the dosa. This is the only place I am aware of in the Ham that serves these. Please, let me know if I am wrong! These are impressive, partially because they are so large and perfectly triangular! When they come out of the kitchen, everyone turns to look:

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What in the world is going on inside this thing? Fold in the corners and flip it over to look under the hood:

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Surprise! Potatoes, spices, and nuts!

It is served with coconut chutney (which I poured all over it-just rich and fantastic). And sambar, which has a strong tamarind flavor and we also used liberally:

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Chicken tikka masala. Always a classic-although not exactly 100% authentic, we always order it because when done well, it is so good. Always a winner at Silvercoin. Rich but not overly rich, thick tomato broth, a little spicy (at our request).

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Chicken briyani, our friend’s suggestion. The best I’ve had in town, and among the very best I’ve had anywhere. Also spicy at our request, with a complex blend of delicious spices.

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We doused everything with raita – cuts the spice slightly and adds additional creaminess.

20140406-101448.jpg We were still sweating at the end of the meal-we enjoy a good sinus cleansing and this meal provides that. (The food can also be made mild, or even spicier, by request.)

Now for dessert. The last time we went to Silvercoin with my Indian food expert friend, my eyes drifted to the “Silvercoin brownie special,” which the menu reports is served in a “sizzling pan.” I was having a craving. I’m human, alright? The owner heard us having a discussion of the questionable authenticity of eating a brownie at an Indian restaurant, and she explained. On her last trip to India, she ate dinner at a hotel where they served this for dessert. When she ate it, she knew she had to bring it back to Silvercoin. That story did it for us-we had to try it. It did not disappoint. Just look at this photo:

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Now that’s a good way to end a blog post.

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