Chow, Baby: Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Not Kidding Around

Apparently lamb is the new crème brûlée — a dish Chow, Baby had never thought much about until one day the light hits the plate just right (with that holy-choir “ahhhh” sound), and then Chow, Baby absolutely must have it every single day or die, until snap the light burns out, eh, bored now. Chow, Baby’s food infatuations usually last a couple of months, and it’s a little worried about supplying this one. Lamb is not America’s most popular meat, and certainly not Texas’. You don’t see a Lamb King or a Ruth’s Chris Lamb House on every corner.
But some cuisines rely heavily on this tasty meat, and lucky/smart Chow, Baby lives right next door to excitingly diverse (cuisine-wise, anyway) Arlington, where every major intersection has its own enticing aroma. At Green Oaks and Cooper, the heady scent emanates from Ahmed (1827 SW Green Oaks Blvd. #149), an Indo-Paki diner featuring half a dozen exquisite curries ($6.95-$9.95), like sinus-clearing vindaloo and tangy-smooth, merely-medium-hot madras. Chow, Baby’s favorite is the mildish but not wimpy korma, a nuanced marvel of exotic spices in coconut cream sprinkled with dried onion bits, all of which embraced but couldn’t overpower the browned-and-simmered, meltingly tender chunks of lamb (most curries also available with goat, beef, chicken, shrimp, or potatoes). With basmati rice, sauce-sopping warm naan ($1), and a cool-off mango lassi ($2.50), it’s a meal to dream obsessively about.
Some silly billies of Chow, Baby’s acquaintance think you can get good lamb only at Indian, Greek, or Middle Eastern places. Sufficient, but not necessary. At global-soul Ovation (6115 Camp Bowie Blvd.), the two grilled double-rib lamb chops ($25) rising high from a bed of orzo flecked with cucumber and red pepper were so gorgeous that Chow, Baby actually teared up. The first cut through the seared crust to the ruby red insides — thanks to server Austin’s wise suggestion to order them rare — seriously, Chow, Baby was speechless with awe. The rest of the meal went by so fast that all a smitten Chow, Baby remembers is perfect happiness, a smidge of mint yogurt sauce on its chin, and the old-school R&B of Greg Smith (Ovation has live entertainment every Wed-Sun, no extra charge). Smooth, silky, tender, and delicious all around.
Now that Chow, Baby’s eyes are open, lamb seems to be everywhere, from Jazz Café’s classic all-lamb gyro ($7.50) to Bonnell’s grilled Colorado loin of lamb with wild-game demiglace ($34.95) — served with mac ’n’ goat cheese, mmm. Inventive Lili’s Bistro glazes a rack of lamb ($29) with honey Dijon and encrusts with pistachios; the Covey also does the Dijon treatment but seals with panko breadcrumbs and fresh herbs ($30). Chow, Baby still hasn’t made it to Chadra Mezza & Grill’s Friday night lamb (and other good stuff) buffet ($15.99), because the timing doesn’t mesh with Chow, Baby’s stupid new deadlines (you’ll be hearing a lot of crabbing about those over the next few weeks or years). But Chadra’s gorgeous French-cut rack of lamb with grilled-vegetable kabob ($24.95) is always on the dinner menu. No lamb breakfast sausages sighted so far, but between kabob lunches and chop dinners, Chow, Baby could easily, and happily, have its favorite meat twice a day around here. Perhaps it should pace itself, though, and let this lamb love last.
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