Have you ever gone to a restaurant and LOVED the food, but vowed you would never return again? This was one of those places. I bought a Groupon a bit back for this place as I had been a few years before. I enjoyed the food on that occasion, but the service had been terrible. I figured they had been open for this long, they had to have gotten better. I was wrong.
We were a bit early for our reservations, so I asked the hostess if we could get a drink at the bar (it was happy hour still). She told us we could not, that the bar was backed up…. Ok… Well, we were shown to our seats and we waited. We got our water. We were asked for our drink orders. Ernie ordered a French martini and I ordered the Hot and Dirty martini (made with pepper vodka and with a pickled spicy pepper garnish). We waited…. We were asked for our dinner order. I had some questions about the options. I enjoy Indian food and have eaten a fair amount of it. But this place had some different options than what I’ve been used to. They had this Thali option for ordering where you got an appetizer, rice, salad, raita, main, roti, and dessert. The vegetarian option was malai kofta, so I decided to go with it. Ernie got a three course prix fixe dinner and some chapati. We got our drinks and toasted. Ernie’s drink was mostly juice. My drink was fine… But it wasn’t made with pepper vodka. Again, nothing really wrong with my drink, but it just wasn’t right. The problem was that the server never really came back until much later for us to even complain, so it was useless at that point…
We got fried naan with three chutneys and preserved lemon. OMG. That lemon was the most delicious few bites. I mean, I made preserved lemon, but this wasn’t really salty. It was spiced and a bit sweet. SO GOOD. I liked the cilantro chutney, but Ernie did not. We both liked the tamarind one, but only Ernie liked the onion (too oniony for me). Ernie’s coconut shrimp came next. and I just sat there. He eventually ate it, but we thought my appetizer was coming as well… Nope. But he said the coconut shrimp was SUPER tasty. Next, Ernie got the lamb korma. It was spicy according to him, but very very good. NOW my food all came at once… I had no idea. The waiter never explained how this was supposed to happen. I specifically asked what the Thali was about, but he didn’t really explain it. If I knew that I was going to get EVERYTHING at once, I would have been fine with it. But not so much…. On my “plate” was a samosa, daal, channa masala, saag paneer, rice, malai kofta, rice pudding, and raita. ZOMG. That saag paneer was absolutely amazing. It was just spicy enough so that it just burned at the back of my throat… so good. The channa masala was nicely spiced, but not hot. The daal was not really spiced at all. I was a bit underwhelmed with it, but again not bad. I gave the rice pudding to Ernie as he really wanted it (and so I could have his dessert). I got to eat the chapati and Ernie ate the roti.
The last sort of dig at the end of the night was that I asked our waiter (who finally showed up) if I could have the recipe for the preserved lemon. The waiter was unsure, but went to ask. He came back and said the owner/manager would be out to talk to me. He never came. We were there for over an hour and a half, much of it just waiting…. Again, the food was VERY good. It was definitely a step above a “regular” Indian place. But I would rather pay less and get a slightly “lower” quality of food and better service. For sure.