2263 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
Free delivery in North Cambridge.
Bengal Café serves homestyle Bangladeshi food. It's very much a family restaurant: when we visited, Dad was helping his son with his math homework and trying to keep his year-and-a-half old daughter from visiting the customers too much, while Mom cooked.
The menu features many items which we'd never heard of before. While it does list a variety of kebabs and curries, but we thought we'd try things we couldn't get elsewhere. We had to ask what many of them were as we were ordering, and there are still a lot of things which are still quite obscure. Ask.
We got the "Fuchka (pani puri) 5 pcs." ($2.25) for an appetizer. It turned out to be 6 bite-sized deep-fried flour puffs filled with lentils with a tangy-hot sauce on the side. Nicely crunchy.
As our entrees, we ordered the first two items on the specials menu: "Boot gosht (shana daal)" (7.99) and "Hilsa Bhaja" (7.99). The boot gosht is a beef--eaten in Bangladesh, in contrast to India--stew, with (as the "daal" indicates) lentils. Lightly spicy and comforting, with large chunks of beef. Hilsa is a fish commonly eaten in Bangladesh, and the Hilsa bhaja was two deep-fried ovals of fish. A cauliflower, pea, carrot side dish, swimming in a savory brown sauce accompanied it. The hilsa has many small bones, but is salty and flavorful. Rice came with both. We also ordered two small puris (0.50 each), which they didn't charge us for.
Portions are small, but we were nonetheless full by the end of the meal.
This is the only Bangladeshi restaurant I know of in the area, and a great change from the usual Indian fare. According to the waiter, they've only been open a few months. I hope they survive!