Food

Pami’s Restaurant

A pleasant oasis, with spice

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When Pami’s Restaurant first opened its doors out in the no man’s land of west Mount Vernon, I didn’t take much notice.

Then one day at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market, a friend of ours walked by with a takeout container of something that smelled wonderful. It was saag channa from a stall run by the Pami’s crew, and our friend was raving about it. My husband and I immediately went and bought one and ate it on the boardwalk by the river. Shortly thereafter, we got takeout from Pami’s to eat on the patio at North Sound Brewery, and realized Mount Vernon finally had the Indian restaurant we’ve been waiting for.

On a recent visit, we took a friend to lunch at Pami’s who had never been to an Indian restaurant before. To make sure she had the full experience, we got plenty of different dishes. We had to start with a plateful of crispy pappadum ($2.99), a puffed lentil cracker served with the usual pairing of tamarind chutney and mint sauce. This is really the perfect appetizer—crunchy, savory and sweet all at once—but I can also recommend the vegetable pakora ($4.99). Deep-fried food is a highlight of Indian cuisine, and these bite-size fritters coated in chickpea batter and served with chutney are a fine introduction.

After demolishing our pappadums we shared butter chicken ($10.99), saag paneer ($9.99), mango curry with lamb ($11.99), and channa masala ($8.99), all served family style so each of us could taste every dish. Our waiter took it upon himself to recommend the garlic naan ($2.99), leavened flatbread sprinkled with garlic and spices. We normally prefer plain naan, but really enjoyed this. We tried the chai ($2.49) and the mango lassi ($3.99), and both were very good. I appreciate that they also offer wine and beer, including two Indian lagers, Kingfisher and Taj Mahal, which are excellent at damping the fire from a hot curry.

I particularly love Pami’s version of saag, a dish of spinach cooked with spices and pureed. It’s creamy and rich and wonderful scooped up with naan. I like it best with paneer (a firm Indian cheese used much like tofu) or channa (chickpeas), but you can order it with chicken, lamb or prawns instead. Since most of the other curries are tomato based, saag makes a great contrast.

The mango curry was a surprise hit for us. We like to order it very spicy and love the sweet and fiery mix of mango and chili heat. Butter chicken, on the other hand, we prefer ordering fairly mild so we can appreciate the smooth richness of the sauce. The chicken is cooked tandoori-style, its red color very attractive in the bright orange curry.

The main dish I haven’t loved here was the vindaloo, a type of curry we often make at home whose heat is enhanced with vinegar to produce a truly searing experience. Unfortunately, most of the extra spice in Pami’s version seemed to come from cayenne added late in the preparation (this seems to be how they accommodate “extra hot” orders), so the flavor wasn’t as rounded as I would have liked. The flavor of their curries seems to be best at medium to hot.

Service at Pami’s is very welcoming and attentive, the only problem I’ve had being a recent visit where we were brought our bill without anyone asking us if we were actually done (and they tried to take away my dessert before I was finished with it). But on every other visit the service has been perfectly polite and patient. The restaurant offers an Indian buffet on the second Saturday of the month for $9.99, although you can still order off the menu on those days.

Traffic on Memorial Highway (one of the main detour routes around the collapsed Skagit River Bridge) may not be at its best at the moment, but Pami’s provides a pleasant oasis for locals as well as those traveling through Mount Vernon.

SVCR TOP
More Food...
Hot Stuff
The art of fermenting

If you happen upon Kirsten and Christopher Shockey’s website, Ferment Works, the tagline “vegetable + salt + time = yum” might have readers believe the art of fermenting is an easy one.

The equation doesn’t lie.

“Fermenting vegetables into condiments is so simple that even if you think…

more »
Seeing Red
The just desserts of spring

Last spring, for the first time ever, our backyard garden’s strawberry harvest was so prolific that even after enjoying a plethora of smoothies and desserts made with the delicious red orbs—not to mention gobbling them straight from the source for more than a month—we had enough left…

more »
Lovitt
A restaurant with roots

If it’s not made in the restaurant, it’s not served there.

That’s the philosophy at Lovitt Restaurant, which opened recently in the space formerly occupied by the Fairhaven Pub. Owners Norman and Kristen Six relocated to Bellingham from Colville, where they had run a small…

more »
Events
Today
Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books

Guffawingham

9:30pm|Green Frog

Village Books
Tomorrow
Fermented Vegetables

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Gather Round

7:00pm|Honey Moon Mead & Cider

Chamber Concerts

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Northwood Steak and Crab Lester and Hyldahl
Wednesday
Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Candidate meet and greet

5:30pm|YWCA

Camp Cooking Basics

6:00pm|REI

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Food and Wine Pairing

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Functional Zero

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Kevin Woods

7:00pm|Unity Spiritual Center

Classical on Tap

7:00pm|Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen

Clybourne Park

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Panty Hoes

9:00pm|Rumors Cabaret

see our complete calendar »

Lester and Hyldahl Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove Northwood Steak and Crab