40 and Famished: To Sana Restaurant With Love

Bhindi- Okra. Sana. Photo Esther Szeben. Bhindi- Okra. Sana. Photo Esther Szeben.

As Valentines Day approaches, I am reminded to express my love for what I desire most. Here is my passionate letter to Sana Restaurant, specializing in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladesh fare.

For years I have sought a restaurant that would appeal to my exotic, unusual tastes without any prejudice or judgment. Among my favorite fixations, okra and eggplant, it is hard to find a restaurant that can entice me. But you Sana, are knowledgeable in the fetishes of the uncommon palate.

Feast at Sana. Photo Esther Szeben

Feast at Sana. Photo Esther Szeben

First the unusual, what I had never experienced before: The egg and beef, you were a whimsy of delight in a bowl, three plump meatballs and the hardboiled egg, a distinctly tomato flavored sauce but not one that I am typically familiar with. This was sweet with a hint of spicy mystery I couldn’t quite fix my taste buds on and a welcome change to pasta style tomato-based sauces.

The Okra, my favorite vegetable, the one that gets me raised eyebrows and dumbfounded stares, it is no surprise we are star-crossed lovers in a world that doesn’t understand us. The texture in this dish was not abrasive or scratchy due to okra’s naturally fuzzy exterior. Having been stewed down with perfectly caramelized onions, it was also blended with my equally favored spice, cumin.

Daal Channa gramme du Bengale. Photo Esther Szeben. Sana Restaurant.

Daal Channa gramme du Bengale. Photo Esther Szeben. Sana Restaurant.

Channa Dahl- a split pea dahl – I didn’t expect the final outcome. At first, it’s coquettish demeanor, a burst of flavors mingled like none other I had ever had such knowledge of knowing. However, as I consumed spoon after spoonful, what a powerful strike of heat! I should have been more cautious but that didn’t stop me from returning for more.
The Chicken tandoori, so tender and mildly seasoned was more than ample to share between two people. It was generous and calming next to the staggering intensity of the competing flavors of the other parties present.

The Saag Paneer, the fresh cheese was like no other paneer I had before, it had flavor of its own and the sauce it was immersed in was creamy, sweet and tangy. I must confess my disappointment that the spinach was just a few mere speckles of the vegetable. I was hoping for a hearty blending of simmered leaves coated in the saucy goodness.
More than ample sauces, what I long for in a fine dining South East Asian experience. Enough for the generously large tandoori naan to soak up. This was how I ended my meal. My dessert, if you will. No dilbahar, burfi or gulab jamun which I noticed flirting with me from your display refrigerator, would have satisfied me.

I left there pleased and gratified, with a substantial take-away bag which I was able to enjoy again the next day for a late afternoon delight.

What an incredible start to dining out in 2016. You have set the bar high Sana.

Sana is located at 655 Rue Jarry O. Open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily. Phone: (514) 274-2220