This weekend my family and I traveled to Bentara in New Haven, Connecticut, to experience a taste of Malaysia (www.bentara.com).
We traveled to Bentara with my Grandparents, who had eaten there before. As we entered the restaurant, I was bombarded with the flat light that filled the whole restaurant. In addition, I smelled the spices marinating into the food in the kitchen and heard the bird-like chatter coming from the tables. Although the light was very flat and the restaurant was fairly dark, I could still see the numerous Malaysian Relics and art pieces placed strategically around Bentara.
As we sat down at our table, we were introduced to our waiter, Orlando who explained to us in great detail the food on the menu. Our waiter was extremely accommodating, while also being friendly and kind. After we had surveyed the menu and decided what we were going to get, we began ordering.
To start we ordered seven dishes. First we ordered Fried Tofu. I did not try the Tofu, but my Mom said it was crisp and crunchy on the outside, and moist/cottage cheese-like on the inside.
The Tofu was stuffed with fresh, sautéed vegetables and bean sprouts. In addition, it was served on a bed of mild, rich red curry and snappy peanuts.
Next, we ordered a ten piece chicken/beef satay.
The chicken was moist and tender, while also being incredibly juicy. The beef was succulent and had excellent grill marks. This dish was devoured by my younger brother.
In addition to the satay, we ordered Roti Chanai.
Roti Chanai is an unleavened bread served with a side of tangy, green curry sauce. The bread was soft and thin, while also being extremely warm.
Our fourth appetizer was a Curry Mussel dish.
The mussels were served a heavy wok-like dish and cooked to a moist, tender perfection. In addition to the mussels, the dish was drizzled with a warm, spicy, maroon orange sauce and a clump of delicious caramelized onions.
Later in the evening, we were brought a Calamari salad.
The salad was fresh and filled with an array of mixed vivid, colorful vegetables, as well as a spread of rubber-band-like calamari rings. I couldn’t seem to grab a taste of the dish, as a result of the constant passing of the plate.
My favorite of the dishes was Telur. The Telur contained soft unleavened ghee bread filled to brim with pillowy scrambled eggs, and razor-thin slivered onions. When constructed, the Telur was fried to a crispy perfection on a griddle, and served with a pungent curry sauce and a sweet and sour onion sauce (the better of the two sauces).
Our final appetizer, was Fried Spring Rolls.
The Spring Rolls were fairly greasy and oily on the outside, as well as being bland and tasteless in the inside. Although they had a crisp, golden shell, you can never can never judge a book by its cover.
To start our entree experience, we were brought Ikan Percik (Grilled Salmon).
The salmon was lightly filleted with a smooth, velvety coconut, turmeric, lime sauce, and served with steamed bok choy and juice-filled grilled tomatoes.
Next, we devoured a dish of Kuew Teow Goreng.
Kuew Teow Goreng is a broad noodle dish containing crisp bean sprouts, light orange shredded carrots, and a salty, tangy mustard green flavored soy sauce.
After we had dined on the Kuew Teow Goreng, we obtained Nasi Goreng.
Nasi Goreng is a steaming stir fried rice dish with an assortment of sautéed vegetables and springy scrambled eggs flavored with soy sauce. The dish was sprinkled with moist shredded steak. Personally I am not a fan of rice, but this rice was in a different league.
Our last entree was Beef Rendang.
The Rendang contained slices of juicy, flavorful beef, thin slivers of crunchy onions, and pungent lemon grass. The dish was a favorite among the group, and was hoarded by all who sampled it.
Overall, Bentara left us with full stomachs and large smiles on our faces. I would recommend the restaurant whenever you may be craving a Malaysian snack or just for a night on the town. I will definitely return whenever I am in or around the general vicinity of the restaurant.
I would give it, ZZZZ- 4 Z’s- Delish