Mahek was an Indian restaurant at 212 E. Washington Street, where Shehan-Shah used to be. It served a lunch buffet ($7.95) and a dinner menu. It closed in 2013 after the business was purchased by Sava Lelcaj.
In the news
- "More changes on Washington", Ann Arbor Observer "Marketplace Changes", May 2013
- With Mahek Indian Cuisine, family takes the next step, Ann Arbor News, September 2008.
The family came to the United States from India in the early 1990s and used to operate Shan-E-Punjab, a small kitchen that specialized in carry-out cuisine, inside the Foods of India shop on Broadway Street in Ann Arbor.
I wrote this on August 27, 2008. Since then I have been back twice. They no longer bring a basket of naan to the table during lunch.
I was heading out for lunch today, walking along Washington St, when I noticed that the "OPEN" sign was lit in the window of the restaurant where Shehan Shah used to be, Mahek. It's allegedly northern Indian style food, in contrast to, say, Madras Masala, which is southern Indian. So, I decided to give their buffet a try.
They've joined together two storefronts -- one used to be Shehan Shah, and the other was, for a time, a web consulting firm during the "dot com" glory days. The entrance is through the western door (i.e., the "dot com" entrance). Inside is light and airy with colorful photos of Indian subjects on the wall. There's a slight ramp connecting the two sides -- I almost tripped on it once, so be aware. The buffet today had maybe 8 dishes (I didn't take notes), plus salad, soup, dessert, and chutneys. The first difference I noticed was the soup, which was chicken based with corn and other veggies in a milky base. The raita was bland, apparently made with full-fat yogurt, and had doughy pearls in it. They had two rice preparations -- one basically white basmati, and the other yellow and spiced with chopped veggies. There were 4 veggie dishes, a chicken, and a lamb dish, plus tandoori chicken. They were all tasty, although the tandoori chicken wasn't as highly flavored as, say, Shalimar's and my piece was dry (which is tough to do with a chicken thigh!)
A highlight is the hot buttered naan bread that they bring to your table in a basket.
Today, they had one dessert, rice pudding. It was tasty, with crunchy bits of cardamom seed. In fact, they were a little too crunchy for my taste -- some of them felt like little rocks in my mouth.
I heard them telling another customer that today was their first day. They've still got a few kinks (as I was paying, one of the staff ran out with a handful of 20s to get some change), and their credit card machine hasn't been set up yet. Still, the food was tasty and seemingly well prepared, the staff was friendly and attentive, and it's a block from work.
The buffet was $7.99. I'll probably be going back.
Mahek occupies the old Shehan Shah spot, and we had both been meaning to get here since the conversion and had high hopes for good food. And we were not disappointed. We only tried three dishes so this is hardly a full review, but we were happy with what we had and want to share.