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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Restaurant Review: Royal Guard Fish N' Chips, Danbury, CT

As part of our mission of eating at a different restaurant each week that I'm preaching in Bethel, my son and I decided to try Royal Guard Fish N' Chips/Royal Curry Corner this past Sunday.  Ian had noticed a listing for the restaurant on Yelp! and we decided to give it a try, knowing as we drove there that we'd both be eating from the Pakistani lunch buffet, yet also wanting to try their fish and chips, which gets good reviews across the interwebs.

The restaurant, at 389 Main Street in Danbury, is directly across the street from the Danbury Masjid and has a neon sign in the front window announcing "Halal Food."  When Ian and I walked in, we noticed that the restaurant was rather spartan, with a counter for placing orders in one corner and a buffet along the back wall.  The tables were bare, with yellowed newspaper designs on them, befitting a chips shop.  The other customers were largely Pakistani and wearing traditional clothing, which I took as a positive sign for the quality of the buffet.

Ian and I made our way to the buffet, lifting the lids off of the steam trays and helping ourselves to the wide variety of food.  The chicken biryani was very flavorful,.  I was reminded that this was Pakistani (Muslim) and not Indian (Hindu) as I helped myself to some well-seasoned beef curry.  Ian really enjoyed the pakoras, though I didn't sample any.  Tandoori chicken always makes me happy and Royal's tandoori chicken was better than most, moist and flavorful and fall-off-the-bone tender.  The palak paneer (spinach with fresh cheese) was quite good, as was the chana masala (curried chickpeas).

Poori, as God intended them to be but not, unfortunately,
as they appear on the buffet at Royal Fish N' Chips.
The only real disappointment of the meal was the poori (deep fried whole-wheat flatbread), which is usually a real treat.  Poori, however, doesn't belong on a buffet.  It needs to be served hot and fresh.  Unfortunately, on the steam table, the poori, which was puffed up when it comes out of the oil, collapsed into depressing soggy flatness and lost all of its light and airy goodness.   The naan (tandoori bread) was delicious, though, with a nice, nutty flavor from the sesame seeds that covered the top of the bread.

Despite the tragic poori, the meal was quite good and was also quite affordable.  Next time I go back, I'll have to make the difficult decision about whether to get more of the Pakistani fare or to get the fish and chips for which the restaurant is named.  It'll be a tough call.

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