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Taste of India: Good, but not great.

2011 September 17
by Dylan

Before I say anything, here’s a link to the restaurant spreadsheet with grades. Make suggestions for where we should eat!

RESTAURANTS!

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To anyone who knows me, it’s no secret that I am a very, very harsh critic of Indian food. It’s my favorite ethnic food to eat and I’ve had it hundreds of times. Prior to our most recent venture, I hadn’t really been impressed with Madison’s offerings–there were some good places, sure, but nothing truly spectacular. Last Sunday, my friends and I decided to venture to Taste of India, a small restaurant located in Madison’s Vilas neighborhood. I hadn’t heard anything about it before going, so we were truly taking a shot in the dark.

Amy got the paneer masala, Kenny had the lamb masala, Mary had the chicken mango and I ordered the chicken makhani. The total, with tip and after our coupon, was about $53 for the four of us. Since this is the first multi-member review of a restaurant, I’m going to write up my portion and then [hopefully] they’ll add their impressions on what they had! Click “read more” for the full review!

Dylan: Prior to ordering, one of the really interesting things that struck me about the menu was how dumbed down it was. One of my favorite dishes, chicken saag, was referred to as “spinach chicken,” as if our silly, uncultured American minds couldn’t deal with the actual Indian names. Regardless, I ordered chicken makhani, which is chicken simmered in a tomato cream sauce with a number of other spices. When we ordered, we were asked for a spice level, from 1 to 5. As someone who has survived the notorious Indian curry dish known as “phall,” I wasn’t going to take any chances. I ordered my food with a spiciness of “4,” which the waiter assured me was quite hot.

The dish arrived complete with a traditional side of basmati rice. One of the more interesting things about it was the way they presented the chicken–I had never seen any Indian dish with thinly sliced chicken…it’s usually cubed. Oddly enough, I definitely preferred it this way. Oh, and check out that color! Calling the redness of this curry ‘vibrant’ would be an understatement. Wait, I’m supposed to be talking about taste, right? Well, it was pretty good. The tomato flavor really came through, and the sauce had a nice, creamy texture. My biggest complaint would be spice level! This dish had no kick, which is what I expected when I ordered a “4” on the spice-o-meter (what I’m calling it). Other than that, I was definitely pleased. For me, this was about on par with other places I’ve been in Madison. If I had to grade it, I’d give them a solid B.

Kenny: I agree with Dylan’s overall review.  I wish the menu had more detailed descriptions of the dishes, other than “sliced lamb with spices and cream”.  But a highlight of night was the great naan bread, we each ordered a different naan/roti and each were warm and filling. My lamb tikka masala was creamy and the pungent “spices” (in using their own word choice) were prominent and to someone familiar with Indian food, quite comforting. I do agree once again with Dylan about the spiciness of  the dishes, I got my spice level at 3 and it barely had any kick to it.  Even still I enjoyed the meal and would give this place a solid B as well.

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