Now, I'm not in Jacques Kelly's league, but I can remember a few things about Baltimore. Like when Tamber's opened many years ago. The new diner had a bright decor and an old-fashioned soda fountain, and delivered some much-needed fun to the dining possibilities in Charles Village.
Well, Tamber's has survived all these years, and is now a fixture. Tamber's has an area on 34th Street devoted to carryout. But you can - and should - go inside the diner and wait while your order is being prepared.
Since its early days, Tamber's has evolved into a hybrid. Think of Elvis in Bollywood or, as Tamber's bills itself, a "Nifty Fifties Diner With an Indian Twist."
The menu includes not only the usual diner food - burgers, subs, lasagna and blue-plate specials - but a number of respectable Indian dishes. The mix sits well with the clientele; a medley of Hopkins students, Union Memorial Hospital employees and Charles Village denizens.
We mostly skipped over the American fare to concentrate on the Indian.
Chicken sagwala ($9.95) made us smile - marinated chicken in creamed spinach, flavored with coriander and other spices. Chicken tika masala ($12.50) also hit the spot, with plenty of meat in an aromatic pink sauce. Both came with plenty of fragrant rice.
Vegetable biryani ($8.95) included saffron rice with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and slivered almonds. The sauce, though, was too oily for our tastes.
We ordered two kinds of flatbread - naan ($1.50) and chapati ($2) - but we got only one, which tasted fine.
Though assured that our meal came with raita, we found instead a container of salad dressing - with no salad in sight.
The one American dish that our team demanded was chicken tenders. While a bit expensive at $9.95, the deep-fried tenders were big and flavorful, and came with plenty of fries.
We also took home a couple of chocolate shakes ($2.95), which were thick, creamy and just wonderful.
Dessert is a pretty big deal here, with several pies, cakes and puddings on the menu. Naturally, we did not let the milkshakes slow us down. We opted for the Dark Side of the Moon ($3.50), a perfectly adequate chocolate layer cake.
Finding on-street parking can be a struggle. There's also a big garage across the street, if necessary.
Waiting area: ***
Where: 3327 St. Paul St., Charles Village
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Diner-style subs, burgers, salads, entrees, pasta, pizza and Indian specialties, $3.95 to $12.95; credit cards accepted