Order Up: Usmania Pakistani Restaurant

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.

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