Except for hair color and a few other details you could be the same person, that’s how alike you are. Why, you even agree on whether spices should be arranged alphabetically or by genre. A perfect match in every way.
And then you go sofa shopping together.
After a couple of contentious hours at Rooms to Go – contrasting piping? Chow, Baby don’t think so – harmony was recaptured two parking lots south at Café Hana (3610 S. Cooper St., Arlington). We were reminded that what you sit on to watch tv is inconsequential when you have cute little shumai (pan-fried shrimp dumplings, $4.50). After a few thimblefuls of hot sake (99 cents on Thursdays), compromise came easy: One wants sushi, the other wants something fancy? Share a Samurai roll ($10.95), a sauce-drizzled cylinder of tuna, crab, and cucumber, topped with glistening-fresh salmon. One wants spicy, the other wants crunchy? The Spicy Crunch roll ($11.95), with avocado, cucumber, and fried shrimp, topped with spicy tuna and “crunch,” satisfies both. Mango or red bean ice cream for dessert? Get both, enveloped in mochi, a sweet rice cake ($4.50 for two small pieces), and everybody’s happy.
Café Hana’s cozy space is made sleek with muted lighting, modern fixtures, and graceful blond wood furniture – precisely the palette of “our” new den (the former Katrina-refugee camp). Even people with questionable taste could see that a clean, modern sofa in a crisp icy blue with satin-finish metal legs would look much better in here than anything with skirts and overstuffed arms and (erk) piping. But where to find something cool on a Weekly writer’s budget? Why does everything have to be either ridiculously expensive or nauseatingly unappetizing, and usually both? Why can’t furniture stores be more like family-owned restaurants – cheap and scrumptious?
Chow, Baby and its navy-blue-lover – at least chocolate and army green are off the table – took a break from Gabbert’s, Haverty’s, and the hell that is Hulen Mall on a Saturday to enjoy the weekend buffet ($7.95) at Maharaja (6308 Hulen Bend Blvd.), a perennial Readers’ Choice Best Indian winner. As usual for buffets, the public offerings are crowd-pleasers – no fiery vindaloo on the steam table – but even in mild-only forms, everything coordinates nicely. Stand-outs are the lamb kebabs and the weekend-only fried catfish strips, loaded with paprika, curry, and cayenne. Chicken, beef, and vegetarian dishes are good, too, and the mango custard is a silky delight. Service, in the form of water-glass-refilling and check-delivering, is as solicitous as a furniture salesman’s.
The same family that manages Maharaja also runs the wonderful Tandoor, in Arlington’s Fielder Plaza, and Akbar in Plano. Wouldn’t they like to branch out and, say, open a furniture store? Chow, Baby would be a steady customer. As long as it gets exactly what it wants at a reasonable price and with great service, of course. In the meantime, the old loveseat will do – it’s not ice blue, no, but it is sturdy, supportive, and comfortably sprung in all the right spots. At bottom, a perfect match for Chow, Baby.
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