Latest Post

Royal Punjab

Nestled in a quiet corner of East Cambridge near the Lechmere station lies Royal Punjab (RP), an unassuming place that, judging from the seemingly mile-long buffet right inside the door, is quite the hopping lunch establishment.  The ambiance was at first a bit jarring, as our subconscious had to acclimatize to a distracting, Indian-language CSI-type TV show blasting loudly in the background.  The artwork was simultaneously blasé and disturbing, consisting mainly of poorly strewn Christmas lights and some sort of man-camel optical illusion (‽).  

Once we settled in we noticed that the waitstaff, all Indian, seemed somewhat…annoyed?…that we were there.  This was consistent with the fact that at exactly 10 p.m. the staff abruptly shut off the TV and turned the lights up in the style of a dank inner-city nightclub.  Furthermore, upon careful inspection it became clear that everything, including the silverware, glasses, and even the table itself, was impeccably, impossibly clean.  This would normally be a good thing, but everything was so amazingly spotless that it suggested that we very well might have been the first customers ever to cross the threshold.  If so, what was the purpose of the buffet?  “Is this a mafia front?” we thought.  “What’s going on here?”  Anyway, regardless of any inexperience that might result from never having waited on a single guest in their lives, the RP waitstaff were exceptionally professional.  One of them even reminded us of the hunchback assistant Igor from Young Frankenstein, who was, after all, one of the most loyal servants in all of modern cinema.

We began with naan, which was apparently on the “secret menu,” thus requiring us to guess what types might be available.  Chat expertly divined “peshawary,” which arrived in a very, very clean, gilded basket…?  Its quality was not befitting of its conveyance, as it was a tad doughy.  Things improved dramatically from this point, however: the veggie pakora appetizer ($4) had impressively uniform fryitude, and while the matter was so fried as to leave essentially no veggie on the interior, it was nonetheless (or consequently?) quite good.  The papad ($3) was nicely salted, and was even spicy!  It was not quite crispy enough, but had a fantastic flavor.  As for the mains, the kashmiri goat Madras ($14) was excellent, sporting tender meat.  And the aloo gobhi ($11)…oh, the aloo gobhi…it was the spiciest ever!  So much so that Yogi was literally left speechless, and experienced such intense face and extremity vibration that it was not only unclear—but irrelevant—whether the food actually tasted like anything.  Rounding out the meal (and counteracting the spice!) were a nicely crystallized kulfi bengali ($3), and a mango lassi ($3) with the highest viscosity we have ever experienced, holding up an entire straw with only ~2 inches of its length submerged!

In keeping with the arc of Young Frankenstein, despite an inauspicious beginning and an abrupt end, the overall experience at RP was outstanding, warranting a four-samosa (▲▲▲▲) rating at eminently reasonable two-rupee (₨ ₨) rates.  Next time you’re at RP, make sure faithful Igor gives you a hefty dose of your meds.  While this may lead to a mood of stoic grimness, it will ensure long life and vitality (Chopan & Littenburg 2017, PLoS One)!

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 10.30.52 PM.png
Impression: Yogi Nearing Nervous-system Shutdown.  Artist credit: C. Hull

Name: Royal Punjab
Address: 251 Cambridge St, near Lechmere in Cambridge
Phone: 617-492-7232
Website: royalpunjabcambridgema.com
Our Yelp review
Delivery: Yes

 

CAMBRIDGE + SOMERVILLE REVIEWS

BERKELEY REVIEWS

GLOBAL REVIEWS

RATINGS (CAMBRIDGE + SOMERVILLE)

Royal Punjab
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

India Pavilion
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

The Maharaja
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

India Castle
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Harvest of India
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Guru the Caterer
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨

The Kebab Factory
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

Desi Dhaba
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Chutney's
Rating: ▲▲△△△
Price: ₨

Passage to India
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Dosa Factory
Rating: ▲▲△△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Shalimar of India
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Frozen Yogi
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨

Punjabi Dhaba
Rating: ▲▲△△△
Price: ₨

Tanjore
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Dosa-n-Curry
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

RATINGS (GLOBAL)

Milan Indian Cuisine (Charlottesville, Va.)
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

UA 84
Rating: ▲△△△△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨+++

Amber Moon (Burlingame, Calif.)
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

India Quality (Boston, Mass.)
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Little India Restaurant (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Bhanu’s Indian Grocery and Cuisine (San Gabriel, Calif.)
Rating: ▲▲▲▲▲
Price: ₨

Udupi Bhavan (Middletown, Conn.)
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Whip In (Austin, Tex.)
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

RATINGS (BERKELEY)

Hare Krishna Temple (ISKCON Berkeley)
Rating: ▲▲▲▲▲
Price: ₨–

Indus Village Restaurant
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨

East Bay Spice Company
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

K.P. Café
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Bombay Cuisine
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Vik's Chaat Corner
Rating: ▲▲▲▲▲
Price: ₨ ₨

Yak 'n' Yeti (now Chulo)
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

House of Curries (College)
Rating: ▲▲△△△
Price: ₨ ₨

India Chaat & Sweets
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Tikka Korner
Rating: ▲△△△△
Price: ₨

Kabana Restaurant
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Chaat Café
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Mehak Indian Cuisine
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Viceroy
Rating: ▲△△△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Namaste Madras Cuisine
Rating: ▲▲△△△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

Punjabi by Nature
Rating: ▲△△△△
Price: ₨

Priya Indian Cuisine
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨

Mint Leaf Indian Bistro
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨+

Everest Cafe
Rating: ▲▲△△△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

Khana Peena Indian Cuisine
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

Ajanta
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨+

Breads of India & Gourmet Curries
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Zaika
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

Mount Everest Restaurant
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨

Biryani House
Rating: ▲▲△△△
Price: ₨

Himalayan Flavors
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

Flavors of India
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨

Udupi Palace
Rating: ▲▲▲▲▲
Price: ₨ ₨

Naan 'N' Curry
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨

House of Curries (Durant)
Rating: ▲▲△△△
Price: ₨

Taste of the Himalayas
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨ ₨ ₨+

Urbann Turbann
Rating: ▲▲▲▲△
Price: ₨

Indian Flavor Express
Rating: ▲▲▲△△
Price: ₨

LEGEND

▲▲▲▲▲ — Exquisite
Worthy of out-of-town guests.

▲▲▲▲△ — Very good
To be sought out if at all possible.

▲▲▲△△ — Acceptable
A reasonable choice if no four-samosa restaurant is nearby.

▲▲△△△ — Bad
The food won't kill you, but you should never choose to eat here.

▲△△△△ — Horrible
The food may kill you. Never eat here. Choose starvation instead.

₨ ₨ ₨ — Pricey ( > $20 / person )
₨ ₨ — Average ( $15 / person )
₨ — Cheap ( $10 / person )

Note that the above prices apply to Berkeley. A per-person increase of $5-10 can be expected in pricier Cambridge and Somerville.

POPULARITY

  • 10,222 hits
%d bloggers like this: