The exceedingly friendly Ali Khawaja appears to have sunk a lot of naan into his restaurant on the sleepy eastern end of Devon Avenue's Indo-Pak strip. The room is crammed with elaborately carved and painted tables and high-backed chairs, and the walls are bedecked with Pakistani handicrafts Khawaja traveled the homeland to procure. Khawaja grills zabiha halal meats, and he's not afraid to see what sort of guts you're made of. Intestinal armor comes in a bowl of raita and (in an odd nod to an altogether different cuisine) a velvety egg-drop soup, meant to be spiked with abundant bottles of soy and Louisiana hot sauces. The standards -- lamb, goat, beef, chicken, and seafood -- are aggressively seasoned and marinated, grilled or stewed, then served beside a pile of rice to stanch the flames; critters found less frequently on Devon include yogurt-marinated quail and veal steaks. There are only a few concessions to plant eaters -- dal, okra, mixed vegetables, and a buttery and luscious pureed rapini. Khawaja named the place Chopal, which means "gathering place," and it's hard to discount his enthusiasm for the venture's party potential when he sits you down on the large woven bench in the front window. There's a $4.99 lunch special.
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