Hugh and I recently decided to try Tandoori House. I remember eating there many years ago, but it wasn’t Indian. The building itself has not changed. It is small and intimate – only 10 tables inside and one table outside – but the people that work there make it a “dynamite establishment.”
It is, for the most part, family run, with Bonnie and Lawrence doing the serving and waiting, and Richie, Bonnie’s brother doing the cooking. (Sometimes their father does the cooking also!)
When we arrived there were only two tables occupied, but by the time we left, people were waiting in line for a table. They do a brisk take-out trade also.
Like the other Indian restaurants in the neighborhood, the menu was extensive. It is interesting to note differences between one place and another. For example, besides the “sampler,” there are 16 different varieties of Naan on the menu. I do not recall any of the others offering so many different kinds.
They have the traditional appetizers; an extensive vegetarian section; sizzler kababs, which are the chef’s special; chicken, beef, lamb and fish sections; eight different kinds of rice in addition to sides and dessert. The choices are amazing.
We started out our meal with Roasted Pappad. Neither Hugh nor I had ever tried pappad, so we asked Lawrence for a recommendation – roasted or fried. He said the roasted was the best. It is a thin, crisp, food made out of lentils, chickpeas, rice flour and black gram that resemble a tortilla. It does not taste anything like a tortilla – more like a cracker – but virtually melts in your mouth. That was surprising because it was crispy to the feel and the first bite just “melted” away. The two sauces it was served with added to the “bite” of the pappad. At $1.99 for two it was quite a bargain.
Making a decision for the main course was also difficult. Hugh finally settled on Chicken Korma, which is chicken cooked in mild curry sauce with nuts, raisins, and coconut. It was served with a huge plate of Basamati rice.
Unlike the other two Indian restaurants, lentil soup, although on the menu, was not served with meal. The Korma was delicious; the hint of coconut was subtle and added to the flavor. Hugh finished almost the entire bowl by himself because it was so good. (I had some too!) It was $13.99.
I finally decided to try the “Beefamb Tikka Masala (house special), which was beef tikka masala cooked in creamy onion and tomato sauce. Now before anyone gets upset with me and the obvious spelling errors, I must say that this is exactly how it appears on the menu.
This may be another reason why this restaurant is so charming, because as one enters the restaurant there is a huge sign on the window announcing the “Thrusday” specials. Yes. I know it is spelled wrong. That was one of the first things I mentioned to Lawrence when we came into the restaurant. He said that they had hundreds of the flyers and posted printed up, and it wasn’t until they were delivered that it was noticed there were many spelling errors. He said it was too late to do anything about them, because of deadlines, etc.
But it only gives credence to the fact that this restaurant is not run by franchises; that it is very legitimately run by a small family. The special was $14.95. No matter how it was spelled it was succulent and flavorful. It was also served with Basamati rice. After Hugh sampled it, and I had two helpings, I asked for a box to take the rest home.
We also like Naam, and since there was such a variety offered we elected to try the Garlic Naam, topped with garlic and cilantro. The flavors blended in well, and we finished the four pieces we were served. The cost of $2.99 was very reasonable.
We each also had a Mango Lassi, and it was good and filling. All of the restaurants make it the same way, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. In addition to the drinks on the menu, wine and beer are also served. There are many vegan offerings, and some gluten-free as well.
There is a lunch special ($8.99) with several offerings to choose from. Interesting enough the lunch special is served with the “Soup of the Day,” Basamati rice and plain Naan.
There is also a Monday vegetarian special and the “Thrusday” special alluded to above.
There were two televisions playing cultural programs, and it was enjoyable.
Bonnie and Lawrence made us feel welcome. They never stopped for a breath the entire time we were there. They were always asking if everything was ok; they were also refilling drinks when they weren’t bringing huge plates to the table.
That alone makes me want to return again and again. As far as which of the three neighboring Indian restaurants I would go to – I would continue to go to all three of them. They are all excellent.