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Tashan

I really knew nothing about Tashan before going there. I didn’t even realize it was under that apartment building on Broad street. Foobooz wrote an article the other month about Tashan being an awesome restaurant that people just aren’t going to. I can see a few reasons for their uphill battle: location on Broad being a bit further south than most of the hubbub, Indian food done “fancy”, and Indian food not cheap. But the food, oh, the food, is why everyone should be going there. Yes, it’s Indian food in a fancy setting, with prices a bit higher than your local take-out joint, but the food is daring, experimental, and exciting. And the place is absolutely huge and beautiful, with a giant bar, big open kitchen, and lounge area.
The menu is a mixture of small plates and a few entrees of things you wouldn’t find in a typical indian joint. Yes, there’s tandoor items and naan and such, but there’s so much more! We started with Pacific Coast Tandoori Jumbo Shrimp. These are some huge shrimp cooked in a tandoori oven with herbal fenugreek, toasted yellow-pea flour, and a basil-seed-coco yogurt. They’re great! Indian food? They’re certainly indian-ish, but could really have been found on any cool restaurant’s menu.
I pretty much like to eat anything with tentacles, so I had to get the baby octopus dish. It’s a Nicobari spanish rock octopus, braised in a red bell pepper sauce. It’s delicious! The sauce is awesome and the octopus is tender and smoky. And it’s a really heaping serving. But I guess if you’re wary of tentacles, then this isn’t the dish for you. They do not try to hide the fact that these are what they are. Again, not very indian food-ish, but quite tasty.Here is the Chilka Lake Wild Black Bass. It is pan-seared with a traditional Oriya curry froth, and apple-fennel salad. This is fish done as it should be. It’s a nice chunk of fresh bass, firm and flaky, with a light and crispy skin. The curry froth was light so that it complemented this white fish nicely. The salad was a crisp and tart contrast.
Since the other dishes seemed more non-indian, we decide to balance that out with a really accessible indian favorite, Butter Chicken. This features free-range tandoori chicken with the butter chicken tomato cream sauce we’ve all grown to know and love. Oh my, oh my, it’s just so good. The chicken is super tender, the sauce is divine, the naan is great. The basmati rice is basmatirrific. Really, there’s nothing bad you can say about this.
Tashan has their desserts and drinks on an iPad. We didn’t see the donuts on the iPad list and got a little bit sad, as that’s one of the things we knew we wanted to try. Technology lied! They actually did have the donuts, and we were back to smiling again. These are the Masala Donuts. They are regular cake donuts, but flavored with 12 spice fennel sugar, and served with chocolate mousse, and cardamon syrup. Yes, you can say they’re indian style donuts. And I officially love me some indian style donuts.

If you like fine dining and want to try some innovative indian-esque cuisine, please give Tashan a try! It’s also sometimes nice to eat indian food not in a tiny pocket-sized takeout joint. The space is beautiful on its own and even has tons of lounge space. To me, it’s worth the visit and the pricetag.

And I’m not even going to mention the bathroom shenanigans I witnessed while I was there. I went to the restroom and saw a girl in a stall open her door and another guy go into her stall. These are full-sized doors so you can’t see anything through it. Both of them were employees of Tashan. Who knows what ensued next. They certainly didn’t seem to care that I totally saw them. Tashan – for all kinds of drama!
Tashan Modern Indian on Urbanspoon

Bye Bye To Bindi

For various reasons, Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney decided to close Bindi, their indian restaurant. I’d never had a chance to go, so we stopped by on their last day in business. I’m happy to say that it was full and hopping. It was a beautiful space! And all of the food was delicious. It’s a shame to see it go!
E’s mango lassi. Who doesn’t like mango lassi?
Papadum with chutney for dipping. You know, it’s like the chips and salsa of indian food. I love this stuff.
We both ended up getting their prix-fixe, which has a limited menu, but pretty much covers most things from their regular menu. It’s not necessarily a better deal or anything, but I’ve just been into prix fixes lately. Here’s E’s spring pea and potato samosas, served with mango-date chutney and raita. These are adorably hot, flaky, and not greasy.
I got the salt roasted beet and mixed radish chaat. It’s a salad of local beets, watermelon, jicama, chutneys, sprouted moong, and yogurt. This thing was awesome. There are so many different flavors in this, it’s hard to describe.
E’s indian bbq braised shortrib with masala roasted potatos, grilled corn-cabbage slaw, and watermelon rind chutney. Bindi’s food is interesting because it doesn’t always look typically indian, and then you taste the intense indian flavors.
I got the seafood goozoo which comes with shrimp, scallops, and mussels in a spicy tomato-tamarind curry, with ginger, garlic, green mango, and lime rice. When I first tasted this, I wondered why this dish was being served at an indian restaurant. Then I moved onto the bottom of the bowl and then all the indian flavors hit me. This had tons of fresh seafood. I really enjoyed this.
The bread we got was a potato paratha. It was a slightly spicy potato griddle bread with ghee, sea salt, and a house raita. I love me some indian breads. They should be part of my daily life.
E gushed about the cardamom cake, so that’s what we both went with. It’s an individual sized warm cardamom cake topped with indian spiced chocolate pot de creme, salted caramel, cacao nib crumble, whipped cream, and a giant shard of sugar glass. Man alive, was this thing amazing! If the salted caramel budino is the must-have at barbuzzo, then this is the must-have at bindi. I hope that they end up still serving this at one of their other restaurants. This entire meal was lovely, and so was the service. I’m just happy that I got a chance to check it out! Bindi, we’ll miss you!

Bindi on Urbanspoon

Saffron – Pronouncing Indian Dishes

H/A and I headed over to nearby¬†Saffron to stuff our faces. On a weeknight they were still doing brisk business. It’s nice to see this place busy. They had some monthly specials, as usual. When H/A ordered, the server complimented him on his pronunciation of the indian dishes.
we got one of the appetizer specials, the chicken and shrimp chaat. It’s a cold dish comprised of cubes of chicken tikka and shrimp tossed with cucumbers, tomatoes, chaat masala, and a touch of sour cream. It was ok but this didn’t excite me much. I think it would have been better just as a veggie salad as the chicken and the shrimp didn’t really kick this up any notches.
Here is the boti kabab masala. This is lean cubes of lamb marinated for 24 hours in yogurt and spices, baked on a skewer in a tandoor, and then finished in a tangy spicy sauce. The lamb was unbelievably tender and the flavor of this was pretty good. And there’s no veggies, it’s just straight up tender hunks of lamb and sauce, perfect for dipping your naan into! In this case, I got the spinach and cheese naan again. I had liked it the last time and I think it’s a nice alternative to plain naan or garlic naan. It has fresh spinach and homemade cheese. Eat it while it’s hot, people!
But you know what, hands down, with no doubt in my mind, the best dish at Saffron is the kadai paneer makhani. It’s got homemade cheese cubes cooked with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and freshly ground spices. There’s just something about this sauce that is unlike any other indian dish. It’s just the best! I would put this sauce on anything if I could buy it or figure out how to make it. It’s not like the sauce that came with the lamb, it’s not masala, it’s not korma, it’s not butter, it’s just the best indian sauce ever. Service is just fine here. They brought out the wrong bread at first but then fixed that right away. And they’re pretty good about filling up your waters. I will come back here for the kadai paneer makhani forever!¬†
Saffron on Urbanspoon

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