Lunchtime with Tillie: Kinara's

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around, will it make a sound? Why is the sky blue?

Why did the chicken really cross the road?

Great mysteries and thought-provoking questions, all. Well, I’d like to add another one to the list:

Why is Indian food restaurant Kinara’s practically a ghost town at lunch?

Hey again, everyone, it’s Van and Tillie of Lunchtime With Tillie fame, here to reflect on another one of our daytime dining excursions, this time to Kinara’s on Myrtle Avenue.

On this day, in particular, Tillie and I had been sitting inside all morning napping and playing, but kind of hesitant to go out because it was one of those weird is-it-or-isn’t-it-going-to-rain days we’ve been having lately. And something about me is that I’m not really one of those throw-caution-to-the-wind kind of dads when it comes down to the weather. I guess that comes from being told as a kid that if you go outside and get caught in the rain without an umbrella or with your hair wet, you can catch pneumonia. My beliefs aren’t that extreme any more, but I still try to be careful!

Anyway, we caught a break with the sun coming out right around lunchtime, so I decided to pack Tillie up and head down Myrtle to one of my favorite Indian food spots, Kinara’s. Aside from the food there, which I personally love, the restaurant has another very appealing aspect to me, especially in the nonworking era:

Everything on the menu is 50 percent off from noon to 4! Yes, you read that right: Everything!

I remember when the restaurant first came to the neighborhood by way of Park Slope. I had eaten at the original there with friends and enjoyed it. When one opened here, there was a chalkboard announcing the half-off-the-menu deal, which I thought was going to just be a grand-opening special. But here we are, a couple of years later, and it’s still going strong!

When Tillie and I got there this day, there was only one other couple in the place that looked to be wrapping things up. Tillie and I rolled up to our usual spot, I took my seat and was promptly handed a menu, which I promptly handed to Tillie! I had no need for it since I get the same thing every time: lamb rogan josh (lamb chunks and tomatoes cooked in a cardamom sauce) and nan. Sometimes, I throw in samosas for an appetizer, but I didn’t feel extra-gluttonous that day! The menu was put to better use by Tillie, and since we’ve been there a couple of times, the waiter knew she liked to play with it and didn’t bother trying to get it back.


There was only so much Tillie could do on her own with the menu while I waited for my food, so I grabbed it and played a little peek-a-boo with her, which she got a kick out of as evidenced by her shrieks of excitement. I get a little worried about that sometimes — you know, possibly disturbing others — but really, when that couple left we had the whole place to ourselves, so it was party time in Kinara’s!

My food arrived — the rogan josh, nan and a bowl of jasmine rice — but what about Tillie? She ate before we left, so I knew she was good there, but I couldn’t leave her to her own devices, while I wolfed down my personal feast. So I managed to still keep the peek-a-boo game going and also give her water from a straw, which is something her mom does with her when we’re all out. It’s just as it sounds, water from a straw, but she really gets a kick out of it, and who am I to judge what makes an 8-month-old happy?

In between games and enjoying my dish (with the lamb practically melting in my mouth, it was so tender), we got to bill time. My tab for all the food I ate, plus a coke, was $9 without the tip. It was worth every penny, even if it would’ve been full-priced!


Now, I know Indian food might be kind of heavy for some in the day, but you don’t have to eat like I do. The appetizer selection is pretty big and you can grab a couple of those, if you’d like. Or, here’s an idea: Go out there with a couple of other parents and kids, and get a few tiny dishes to share. There’s plenty of space in the restaurant. Plus, I hear curry-flavored food can help a child develop a palate for different spices, which is next on the agenda for Tillie. I think she’s ready to move past the water and straw!