By New Times
By Robrt L. Pela
By Lauren Saria and Heather Hoch
By Deborah Sussman
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch
Veggie dishes fall into Tabassum's territory, and you could start and stop at two of them: a creamy and ginger-heavy dish of golden paneer masala made with cubes of Indian cheese and the lentil-heavy daal. A common side dish with meals in Pakistan, this simple, protein-packed creation can be made in several varieties, two of which I tasted at Zaidi's: a lightly seasoned and decidedly un-stew-like creation Tabassum calls a "dry daal," topped with fried onions, and a spicier, soupier version equally enjoyable.
After dinner, don't miss a small bowl of kheer, a Pakistani and Indian rice pudding. Creamy, lumpy, and flavored with generous amounts of cardamom, it comes topped with ground pistachios and slivers of almonds for a seasoned, sweet, and nutty flavor. It's best paired with an order of poori parata. The light and flaky bread is perfect for scooping up bites and becomes almost pastry-like in the process.
Like its strip-mall storefront, Zaidi's small interior is plain — a scattering of tables and chairs, a few hints of décor, and a TV that, when it's on, sometimes plays Indian music videos a bit too loud — but the hospitality of Syed and Tabassum makes the experience a pleasant one. As the only two employees of their restaurant, service can be slow if the place is busy, but one of them always has time to explain dishes, aid first-timers in selecting a new favorite, and to stop back at your table to ask how the food is tasting.
1617 N. Granite Reef Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
Region: South Scottsdale
Your answer, like mine, will most likely be, "Delicious."