A quick and friendly reminder: Head over to this post to vote on where next week's one year celebratory meet up should be held!
A reader by the name of Earth wrote in noting that I hadn't yet reviewed any Indian restaurants and suggesting that I stop by India Cafe on Whitesburg. It was an astute observation. I've only come to appreciate spicer foods in the last couple of years and had not yet branched out into Indian food. India Cafe was an excellent introduction.
The hubby and I stopped in for dinner one night as a prelude to running errands. The seating was a bit confusing because there is no obvious hostess stand and it appears to be an order-at-the-counter establishment. Which it is; during lunch. For dinner, guests are seated and given menus. The hubby picked up on this, while I obliviously headed for the counter. Once I got pointed in the right direction, we were shown a table and handed menus.
The dinner menu is expansive, allowing for a great variety of meats, sauces, and pairings. The lunch menu is a sleeker version of the same offerings, likely to expedite the heavy lunch crowd that the Airport and Whitesburg corner receives. We asked our server for recommendations before settling on the Chicken Tikka Masala for me, the Chicken Biryani for my hubby, and an order of Tandori Naan to share.
While we waited for our food, a basket of fried dough balls appeared at our table.
The appetizers featured a crispy exterior with a soft flavorful interior. The breading was studded with chunks of hot peppers which pushed it past my spice threshold. However the delightful lightness and the depth of flavor meant that I enjoyed them anyway. My husband thought that the spice level was just right and even enjoyed the accompanying creamy dipping sauce which kicked up the spiciness further.
At this point I was a little worried that my meal (which I has asked for to be medium, not too spicy) would be too much for me. Enough so that I asked at the counter to see how the dough balls would compare. They assured me that my meal would be fine.
Our food came out quickly and in deceptively small dishes. My tikka masala featured a rich, creamy tomato sauce deftly seasoned and just this side of my "way to spicy" boundary. The chicken, bright orange from absorbing the tomato sauce, was tender and paired with onions. The included rice was a thin, long grained rice which had cloves tucked into the bowl. The cloves infused the rice with a fragrant scent and a touch of flavor that harmonized wonderfully with the chicken and sauce. As a perk of having selected a dish where the rice was served on the side, I was able to regulate just how spicy each bite was by adjusting the meat/sauce to rice ratio.
The naan, cooked in a tandoor oven, was light and puffy. Thinner than pita bread, it had a flavor of yeast and wheat and reminded me somewhat of pizza crusts. Really delicious pizza crusts.
My husband greatly enjoyed his meal (shown in the image at top). The rice and chicken was flavorful and spiced to his taste. The dish was served with a coleslaw like side which included carrots, cabbage, onion, tomato, and cilantro in a thin sauce.
We greatly enjoyed our meal. The flavors of each dish were rich and well balanced and the portions incredibly generous. In addition to making a dinner out of our meals, I made some additional rice and had another three lunches. My husband's dish made for another two meals. The price had seemed a bit high for the casual diner-like atmosphere, but for 7 meals it became a bargain. (There is also something to be said for anything you can eat for 3 days straight and still wish you had more when you finish the last of it.) We will absolutely be back to continue our forays into Indian cuisine.
Total for the meal: $29.97 (Includes: Two entrees, one order of Naan, two soft drinks)
View Larger Map