The Malabar coast is the legendary spice coast of southern India, from whose ports traders have exported cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric and more for centuries. The cuisine of the Malabar coast is rich with those spices, as are the dishes on the Malabari Kitchen menu. These range from the palappam (lacy rice flour pancakes) with egg curry ($9.25), and a rich curry made with shrimp in a creamy coconut sauce ($12.50) to kingfish in a fiery tomato-based sauce ($11.50); and biryani rice with chicken, mutton or fish ($12.99-$13.99).
Malabari Kitchen owners Biju Meethaleveedu and Bindhu Sankar are natives of Kerala, the south Indian state that includes much of the Malabar coast. These days, Biju is running the place pretty much by himself, while Bindhu focuses on her nursing career. Biju is an engaging storyteller, happy to talk about Kerala’s culture and culinary traditions.
A word of warning: the restaurant and its kitchen are tiny, and everything is cooked to order, so when the dining room is crowded, you may face a wait—but it’s well worth it.