Indianapolis Restaurants--the good,
the bad, and the ugly
Thursday, October 14, 2010
So, Indian food is one that I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with, because, well, frankly, it has never been my favorite cuisine I guess.But I am always trying to broaden my culinary mind, so I have made it a goal to work on trying lots of Indian places and lots of different dishes.And as always, I welcome your feedback.You guys have turned me on to lots of really good places in my time writing this blog, and I know you won’t let me down!
Anyway, after asking for some suggestions, we decided to try Indian Garden in Broad Ripple.We went for lunch—they offer a lunch buffet.Ok, I have to say, I am generally not a huge fan of buffets just because I think a lot of the time you have no idea how the fresh the food really is. I also don’t think it is a true test of what a kitchen is capable of when it isn’t freshly made.Hubby tends to agree with this theory as well, so we decided to order off the menu and share some freshly cooked items.I did go up and check what was on the buffet just to see how it looked.And apparently they do a pretty good buffet business (a lot of people by themselves having lunch which made for quite a quiet dining room).The downside for us is there is no other lunch menu, so we had to pay full price for items from the dinner menu.
We started with an order of Onion Bhaji which are little deep fried fritters made up of very thinly sliced onions (I think there were white onions as well as scallions in there), that are dipped in a batter made of chick pea flour and fried.They were highly seasoned, I would guess with turmeric based on the color of the insides.They were served with a mint sauce as well as a sweeter tamarind sauce.I enjoyed these quite a bit.They were super fresh and hot, and nicely crunchy.The batter made with chickpeas gave them a nutty flavor that was unique to most fried appetizer type items.
We also shared Chicken Makhni which was small boneless pieces of Tandoori chicken cooked with many spices (according to my research, usually fenugreek, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and pepper), and in a very rich buttery, thick tomato-ey sauce.I am guessing there is some cream in there too. This dish really grew on me, it had such a rich buttery flavor that was just enriched by the tomato paste and was not turned into a tomato sauce per se.Also, it does not have the coconut flavor of several other Indian dishes I have tried, which I appreciated, as I generally don’t care for the sweetness coconut milk adds.The chicken was amazingly tender in the sauce.I was impressed that something that had obviously been cooked for such a long time was so tender and not dried out at all.It was served with long grain Basmati rice mixed with a few green peas.
On the side we ordered Naan, which is a traditional Indian bread that is flat and large but with two layers (think pita-ish but much more the size of a small pizza crust) and cooked in the Tandoori oven.So the top and bottom are slightly blackened in spots.In our case, we decided to get a variation called “Keema Naan” which was stuffed with minced lamb and onions.While I enjoyed the Naan, I think I would have preferred it without the meat, which I don’t think really added much to it.I think the bread on its own, or one of the variations on the menu with garlic on top or cheese inside might be more interesting and next time would be likely to try one of those instead.
I enjoyed this lunch and felt like we did a good job picking things that we enjoyed but honestly, like I said, this is not an area I feel like I know exactly what I want.And the menu at India Garden is huge.I noticed a lot of seafood dishes that sounded quite interesting as well.So, I am asking you, what are your favorite Indian dishes and why? And where do you like to eat them in Indy?