Ethnic Eats

Answering the call of the gastronomically adventurous, ethnic restaurants invade the Square and offer a culinary extravaganza of...

"I always get the khorma--only because I'm into nuts," says lean Thong.

Thong, a former employer at the Harvard Medical School, is a regular a Dehli Darbar, one of the Square's newest Indian restaurants.

For Thong and other gastronomically adventurous Cantabrigians, it's just one of many restaurants in the Square offering alternatives to the regular burgers-pizza-fries fare.

Falafel, baa ganoush, crab Rangoon, chicken vindaloo or salmon roe--you name it and the Square has got it. Ethnic food is the latest in trendy cats and its lucrative entry into one of Cambridge's more competitive districts seems to be proof of its staying power.

Students have discovered that these places offer a flavorful alternative to bland, deli eats reminiscent of dining hall food, and regulars say the fare is a cheap way to satisfy hunger pangs.

"Romantic and Delicious'

"I come here because its very very good, very reasonable, and convenient," says Frank sanchez, a masters student at the Kennedy School, while waiting for his order at Sabra Grill.

While the Middle Eastern take-out's easy accessibility is definitely a draw, Sanchez says the Falafel sandwich and lentil soup are the real reasons he frequents place.

And he knows how he likes his chick pea concoction.

"I want the falafel not to be greasy, I want the stuff that goes in the sandwich to be fresh, and I want it well-seasoned, and that's about it," says Sanchez.

Albert Y. Hsia '92, who frequents Sab's Grill and Sushi in the Galeria, also has a very keen culinary palate.

"Bad sushi seems refrigerated for a long time, and you can't really taste the distinct parts," Hsia says.

Sab's has occupied its first-level place in The Garage since October, says employee Patricia Deeney.

Delhi Darbar, like Sabra Grill and many of the Square's other ethnic restaurants, has attracted a faithful following already.