Lunchtime With Tillie: Amin

“It’s Tillie and Pops/Tillie and Pops/We’re pullin’ out all the stops/It’s Tillie and Pops/Tillie and Pops/Better watch out and call the cops … ” Hey everyone , and welcome back to Lunchtime With Tillie! I was feeling a little nostalgic so I thought I’d share some of the lyrics to a little song I made up when I started staying home with Tillie. That song came to mind because this is the first LWT of 2010 where it’s just the two of us as Tillie’s mom couldn’t make it out. (She says hi!) We missed her, but the show must go on, and that it did as T and I went to Indian restaurant Amin on Dekalb Avenue.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m usually a Kinara’s guy: Really good food and a great lunch special (50 percent off the whole menu!) make it hard to top. But since Tillie and I hadn’t gone to Amin yet in our food forays, I thought it would be nice to drop by. And personally, I hadn’t been there since way back when it was the only show in town. Back then, I wasn’t blown away by it, but things change, so who knows?

Anyway, we got to the place kind of late one afternoon and it was empty, except for the employees. Tillie and I had our run of the place as far as seating went, so I took a spot where I could leave the stroller unfolded. I got a high chair from one of the guys working there, but bad news: The buckle to strap the kid in was broken and it was the only high chair they had. Great, I thought, because keeping Tillie down in a high chair is tough under optimal conditions and these conditions were a little far from that. I set her in it, with extra attention paid to her escape ambitions!

She had a menu to play with that kept her occupied, while I took a look at mine to see the lunch specials. I usually go for a lamb dish when I eat Indian food, so I picked the lamb bhuna this time: chunks of lamb cooked in a thick, spicy sauce. I ordered that, along with some plain nan and an order of samosas for an appetizer.

While we waited for the food, Tillie noticed an elephant statue on the floor that she wanted to go over and play with. I took her out of the chair—which wasn’t too hard, seeing as how she wasn’t exactly strapped down—and let her walk over to the statue. She pet it a few times, pointed at the various studs adjoining it and pretty much just got a kick out of it. In the midst of this fun time, the samosas arrived.

We got back to the table, ready to dig in—or at least I was: Tillie was still thinking about her new pal on the floor. I thought samosas—pastries stuffed with potatoes and peas—would be perfect for Tillie, so I gave her the first bite. She seemed to like it, so I followed her up with a bite of my own. It was OK, nothing to write home about. The samosas were served over a brown sauce and a green sauce. (Sorry I don’t know the proper names of them, but I’m sure you readers out there know what I’m talking about: I can call them brown samosa sauce and green samosa sauce!) Tillie liked the brown better than the green, and me? I’m kind of ambivalent about them: I guess I’m not the sauce-distinguishing connoisseur that Tillie is!

The lamb, rice and lamb arrived shortly after and I have to say, it all looked pretty good. I took a bite of the lamb first to see if it was going to be too spicy for Tillie. I thought it had a little kick to it, so I gave T some rice with the brown samosa sauce on it. She was eating that pretty steadily, which was a good sign as far as her getting a decent serving of food in her lil’ tummy. I was able to fix myself some lamb over the rice and I have to say I was a little disappointed. The first bite I took before serving Tillie didn’t blow me away and the follow-up failed to, as well. The dish was a little greasy and the sauce seemed to be like a coagulant over the meat: In other words, it wasn’t enough to hit all the rice. And as far as dipping my nan in the sauce, forget about it: There just wasn’t much to go around. I tried to offer Tillie some nan dipped in what little sauce I could muster up, but she wasn’t interested.

As I mentioned, the dish had a little kick to it, so I finished my water early on in the meal. I was about halfway through with my food before anyone came back around to give me any more. Tillie’s sippy cup of milk never looked so good …

I ended up giving Tillie a taste of the lamb and rice, and it wasn’t too much for her to handle. Then I finished up and asked for the check. When it came, it reflected my whole experience there: disappointing. The bill was $14.35, not including the tip, which is a little much for a below ho-hum meal.

So in other words, I don’t think we’ll be back: The lunch special wasn’t that special, the water was distributed as if they were conserving it and there’s only one broken high chair. But I guess T had fun with that elephant, so if she wants to go back, she’s picking up the check: Her half of the royalties on the “Tillie and Pops” song should be enough to cover it.