The other night we went with some friends to TANDDORI NIGHTS located in a snazzy upscale mini-mall in Clarendon (http://indaez.com/tandoori-nights-clarendon) at 2800 Clarendon Blvd. On a cold night the $3.00 discounted parking in the mall lot makes it an added attraction. The decor is comfy and cozy, if the service is a little abrupt and lacking.
The menu is large and there are many vegetarian and meat choices, so anyone could enjoy a varied meal here; we, of course, chose too many dishes as we are wont to do!
The 2006 St. Francis RED from Sonoma at $29 is a great blend of Cabernet, Zinfandel, Merlot & Syrah that works wondefully with some of the spicier foods. It was so good, we had a second bottle of the same knwoing that trying anything else might result in a wine that would not be as good.
On the table at arrival were three tasty sauces (chutney, homemade mustard and that green sauce that I can never remember the name of!) along with crunchy super thin flatbreads.
We asked our server for some suggestions, but he went so fast and mumbled, that I had to ask him to repeat several times. I have to say that it was the first time I was sorry I listened. His top suggestion of the GOAT CURRY was only okay, and a bit too heavy on the bones as goat often is.
Children always have food issues, and Indian food can be quite a problem, but both of them handled it quite well.
Samuel ate some of the VEGETABLE SOMOSA, then declared it was too spicy. A big hit for both of them was the FISH & CHICKEN PAKORA which are basically battered in chickpea flour and fried making them the closest thing to fish and chicken fingers around. The assorted bread platter of GARLIC NAAN, ROTI & NAAN was a big hit with the boys and all of us as well.
The top hits for the adults were the RAJ KACHORI an appetizer of main course proportion that is thin crunchy vermicelli noodles in a large chickpea crusted puffy pastry ball with Tamarind & Yogurt Sauce and Mint Chutney. We all loved the textures and flavors and the bite of spice in this oh-so-fun dish.
FISH TIKKA was a tasty salmon delivered to the table on a sizzling platter with onions and some veggies along with a tasty lentil sauce. The fish was well cooked and not dry and was even better reheated a night later.
The veggie main courses were of the best quality: KHILE PHOOL was a slightly spiced fried CAULIFLOWER & PPTATOES with Ginger, Tomato, Peas and Spices while the traditional PALAK PANNER was a tasty creamed spinach with simple white cheese chunks. The Palak Paneer was amplified in the LAMB & SPINACH dish which was Palak Paneer with the cheese being substituted with tasty chunks of lamb; far superior to the Goat Curry.
We could not even fathom dessert as we packed much of the leftovers up and headed home quite full. I have to say that we enjoyed everything save the curry recommended by the server. We arrived at 630pm and the place was empty, by 7pm it was almost full. I almost felt that they just wanted to get us served and out, even though there was nobody waiting when we left. If you do take to TANDOORI NIGHTS, go on your instinct with the menu and try not to listen to the server and you should fare well.
Speaking of farewell...this is the last report this year from the USA, so a happy New Year to all, and look for some exciting reports soon from South America (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and maybe even Antarctica!).