Eastern Elegance

By: Karen Talaski | February 19, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Khana.

The delicious cuisine of Pakistan blends the silkiness of fine oils, the spices of regional ethnicities and the heart of homemade chefs, street food, fine-dining establishments and every other kind of way to get this highly seasoned food into your mouth. 

For spices, think of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, turmeric and bay leaves. There are large helpings of oil, adding a rich taste and feel to the foods. Some of the most well-known dishes include Kabuli Palaw, chapli kabab, tika, and mutton karahi. 

Although there is the traditional three-meal structure to the day, families gather together en masse for dinner, bringing together savory dishes for a grand daily event. There are some staples, such as lentils and roti or naan. There are tangy tastes, such as yogurt or pickled items. And there is always a little bit of dessert along with fresh fruit to cleanse the pallet. 

Many of these restaurants blend multiple food traditions, such as Pakistani and Indian, so be prepared to get a taste of authentic curry or chicken kabab all in one sitting. While the cuisines are similar in some ways, each one uses different spices, different oil levels and ingredients such as its use of meat protein in its well-known dishes, so pick and choose what you want to eat off of the menus and you can customize your meal as you wish. 

Here are some Metro Detroit Pakistani restaurants that earn raves around the region. 

Kabab N Curry 

This family-owned restaurant in Farmington Hills seeks to bring a blend of authenticity and innovation to its dishes. Many of its recipes are family secrets, passed down proverbially from generation to generation. But others are fresh flavors that show off the creative side of Pakistani food. Pakistani specials include Haleem, which is cooked with lentils and meat as well as Brain Masala with mutton, spices and onion sauce. Now that’s food for thought.

Khana 

With a mantra of “We aim to dazzle your taste buds,” you know that Khana is going to go the extra mile with its food, flavors and flair. This Detroit-based restaurant serves what it calls transformed classic Pakistani recipes that its chef, Maryam Khan, enjoyed as a child. Patrons rave about the Butter Chicken, Tikka Tacos and Aloo Gobi Burrito. The restaurant is 100 percent Halal, vegan friendly and open to people who need gluten-free or nut-free options. 

Reshmi Sweets 

Head to Hamtramck for this café that blends Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine in its Conant location. Its balance of vegetarian and protein-based dishes, such as its Saag Paneer and Tikka kabobs, show its ability to balance all of these cultures, ingredients and traditions under one roof. 

Punjab Indian Cuisine 

With its blend of Pakistani and Indian flavors, this restaurant shows off the skills of its chef and kitchen. Located in Auburn Hills, the intimate eatery seeks to show off Asian flavors, classic French techniques and a world traveler’s view of food, wine and sweets. Punjab also has a special Thursday night dinner buffet that is not to be missed with unlimited dosa, chaats and more. 

Tandoori Corner 

Canton is home to this Pak-Indian restaurant, where a traditional clay oven using high heat creates flavorful bread and meat for all. Some say its suburban location, use of paper plates and homey atmosphere makes it a hidden gem, but if you know your spices and aromas of home cooking, you’d have tried it already. Patrons rave about the tender chicken, kabab and sesame naan as musts during your in-house visit or to-go order.