Until a few years ago, a lack of decent Indian eateries had been an issue up and down the Main Line. Then came a much-needed surge, with Wynnewood, Bryn Mawr and Bala Cynwyd as the primary beneficiaries. Now, we can add Glen Mills to the list.
Shere-E-Punjab chef/owner Zail Singh Shergill and co-owner Pushpinder Singh already know what makes a great Indian restaurant tick. Their Drexel Hill and Media outposts of the same name are highly popular. The latest Shere-E-Punjab is in Concordville Town Centre, along the busy Route 202 corridor. The space itself is hardly massive, and on a recent weeknight, couples, families and large groups kept the place bustling.
The crowds may well have explained the sluggish service. After we waited almost 10 minutes to be greeted and escorted to a table, even more time went by before our server arrived. Not long after, however, our orders emerged from the kitchen, taking some of the sting out of the previous 25 or so minutes.
Appetizers range from traditional, turnover-like samosas to spicy takes on marinated fish fingers and wings. Crispy and not the least bit greasy, our green-pea-and-potato samosas benefited quite nicely from the sweet and tangy tamarind sauce served on the side. The impressive selection of tandoori breads includes everything from the more familiar garlic naan to a dessert-like peshawari version, stuffed with a highly addictive mix of cashews, raisins, almonds and sweet coconut, then baked in the restaurant’s clay oven.
The large dinner menu offers a variety of meat and seafood items baked in the clay oven, plus a large selection of lamb, chicken, seafood, rice and veggie entrées. The lamb vindaloo is a must, its tender chunks of meat immersed in a luscious sauce made of sugar, ginger, vinegar and assorted spices. (The chef will make it as mild or hot as you like.) It’s topped with a sprinkling of bright-green cilantro, a cooling element that ties the dish together.
The punjabi tikka masala is Shere-E-Punjab’s signature dish for a reason. Tender, oven-broiled chicken cubes in a creamy, tomato-based sauce with onions, herbs and spices are served over a bed of fragrant basmati rice flecked with green peas. And don’t miss sopping up the remnants with some warm naan.
For vegetarian appetites, I highly recommend the palak paneer—homemade cheese cubes cooked in a thick sauce of spinach, herbs and spices. It’s great on its own or accompanied by one of the heartier meat dishes. The expertly prepared navratan korma—fresh vegetables, coconut, nuts, fruit and yogurt—is a refreshingly different way to offset the spicier masalas and vindaloos.
The skinny: The spotty service may be of little concern once you taste the fragrant Indian specialties at this unassuming shopping-center eatery. Lighter, more flavorful preparations set Shere-E-Punjab apart from its competitors, and so do the reasonable prices. Here’s hoping they add their popular lunch buffet soon.