To my mind, one of the better ways to judge an eatery is by listening to the comments made by diners. Mostly for me, eavesdropping is not possible even if I wanted to, and I don’t get all that many patrons volunteering to express their opinions either. So, I taste when I can, I listen to the owner or the chef or the wait staff, I read menus, then assimilate and start writing.
One place on the Dining Out beat is an exception to the norm described above. Seems that Tandoor Cuisine of India regularly has patrons who love the place and want to talk about the food there. Over the years, at least a half-dozen people at Tandoor have approached me with their take on Indian food generally, and Tandoor Cuisine of India’s food specifically. My guess is they see what I am doing there. Or they overhear me talking to Naren Patel, the owner, about his restaurant. They want to contribute to the story. They volunteer!
First time I recall such a volunteer was more than 10 years ago, just after Thanksgiving. “The food here is filling, but not heavy,” said Don Sefferlin, a patron that day.
At the time, he said that he had been coming to Tandoor for seven to eight years. He loved the place. “A friend of mine introduced me to Indian food here (at Tandoor). It’s delicious! Occasionally, I come for dinner, but mostly for lunch.
“Just the taste made me a convert, to the point where I would describe myself as an addict now. I like the food mildly hot. The food here (on the buffet, at which he was standing, filling his plate) is not particularly spicy. The nan (Indian flatbread), though, is always good here. And the tea is an attraction for me at the end of the meal. It has a settling effect.”
Can a restaurant get much better advertising than that? Thing is, I’ve heard variations on Sefferlin’s theme several times over. Another is from Jane Friedman, also years ago.
“I love coming to the Tandoor because the lunch buffet always has a nice selection of fresh food that is vegetarian,” she said. “I’m a vegetarian, so I especially appreciate the selection they have here. I love the spinach and the nan is always very good, and they fix a really nice cabbage (dish) too.”
Patel added that he appreciates the endorsements from patrons, and figures he knows why the rave revues. “We prepare our foods from scratch. Our menu is full of favorites of the cuisine of India, and we take pride in the authenticity of it.”
But there is more in the endorsement department. “For people who like Indian food, this (Tandoor) is the best there is. We’ve eaten in every Indian restaurant in this city and when we go on vacation, we seek out Indian restaurants. And these peas and mushrooms, they are on Friday; we come on Friday. Now you’ve got to taste them; you’ve got to taste the peas and mushrooms. They are the best there is.” That is Bill Lipsky, a far more recent regular at Tandoor Cuisine of India.
“My wife is a strict vegetarian, and at Indian restaurants you can always get vegetarian food,” Lipsky said.
He and his wife and assorted friends are regulars at Tandoor restaurant in Montgomery. Friday lunch is a favorite day and time for the Lipsky entourage to visit this Indian eatery because of the peas and mushrooms.
We took Lipsky up on his impassioned plea to try the peas and mushrooms. That vegetarian dish is excellent, and one I had not tried until his strong recommendation. Spicy, yes, but not too spicy. I enjoyed the saucy, chewy texture of the preparation, especially when mixed with some of the saffron rice on my plate. The curry in which the mushrooms and peas are cooked is a perfect sauce for the vegetables.
Indian cuisine perhaps is the ultimate comfort food, in my view, and it is obvious that some of the dining public tend to agree, along with agreeing that Tandoor Cuisine of India is a good place to find some of the best. Once you get the hang of it, Indian food is fun to eat.
I particularly enjoy the naan and naan variations Tandoor features on its menu. Naan may be used as an edible utensil, especially with dishes such as peas and mushrooms. Whenever the dish features a curry sauce, the naan comes into play for me.
Several of Tandoor’s chicken dishes are favorites of mine. Saag chicken may be the leader of those, featuring chicken cooked in spinach which has been spiced, but mildly so unless the diner wants more added. Chicken curry is another favorite, the meat cooked in a simple light gravy; and chicken mattar is yet another, featuring ground chicken cooked with peas and herbs. All three are flavorful dishes that are fun to eat with saffron rice and naan.
See you at Tandoor, Cuisine of India!
Tandoor Cuisine of India
8702 Market Place Lane, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45242