Friday, November 19, 2010

The Land of a Thousand Meals, Part III

Well hello world! Notice anything different? The website has upgraded! Right on! While the basic template served us well for the infancy of The Novice Fork, (thank you, the savvier I become with designing this charming little website, the better it will look… basic cause and effect people. I hope you enjoy!

And we have also made it to the end of our trilogy, in the grand tradition of Lord of the Rings or half of the Star Wars series…. wait, hold on...

A long time ago, in a restaurant far, far away…

sorry, I couldn’t resist. Even though it wasn’t so long ago, more like Monday night, and the restaurant isn’t really that far, about 25 minutes away without traffic, give or take….

Sooo anyway, moving on, Monday night I went to an Indian restaurant in Portland, ME, which was a first for me. I have been to Indian restaurants all over, one really great hole in the wall in NYC, the best Indian French fusion restaurant in Boston called Mantra,, which rocks my clock! But never have I tested Indian cuisine in Portland, ME, so I was very excited to try some downeast Indian and see what our great city has to offer.

Choosing an Indian restaurant if you haven’t been to any in Portland can be tricky. There are a lot of options out there and I resisted because I didn’t know where to start. Well I manned up and randomly selected Tandoor Restaurant,, at 88 Exchange Street in Portland and took the plunge into the world of Curry and Basmati rice. And man I’m glad I did!

Here is a picture, from their website. Cute right?

The tiny room of a restaurant, with no more than 20 tables, was quiet and pretty empty, with only 3 other tables occupied. The single waitress was swift and gracious, seating and watering me, (yes we are plants) within seconds. The aroma of the place is the first thing you notice, savory, spicy and thick, it’s how you want and expect an Indian restaurant to smell. This really got me excited for what was to come. The second thing you notice is the revolving crystal chandelier in the middle of the ceiling. Great touch, Liberace would be proud.

The menu was wayyyy to long, and I tend to get overwhelmed with too many options. But it all looked good, so I relied on my previous knowledge of what I liked in Indian cooking and started with two Samosas, “Deep fried, spiced and shredded potato turnovers” so says the website, which were delish and piping hot! Then onto some Dal Shorba Soup, “A traditional soup made with split peas & lentils, subtly flavored with spices, garnished with cilantro” so says the website again. This was good but not amazing, and I thought the lentils would have been whole but the soup was puréed instead, which was sort of anemic and was more of a sauce. Then I went with the Lamb Dilruba, which is lamb in curry sauce with mushrooms, garlic, fresh ginger, and this, served with Nan bread (the most delicious bread in the world) and a trio of chutneys and sauces, was wonderful. Hot, spicy, and filling, along side a large dish of Basmati rice, the dish was perfectly cooked and lovely. With all this, and about 5 glasses of water (they don’t mess around with spice), I really enjoyed my meal.

So, stuffed, and my nose dripping from the profuse spice used in the curry, I left a happy man, and discovered I like Indian food in Portland, ME.  The meal was a little over $25 dollars, but, for the sake of research, I must spend a little green to get gold. (Like that? Knew you would…) o and gold seems really fitting once you see the décor. Wow, that really tied up nicely!

So, rating time already? Aww shucks, I was having so much fun. I think this place is a 3.5 Fork joint. Keep in mind that even if the restaurant gives off a “questionable” vibe at first, the authentic food is the winner here, and isn’t that what’s important? You know, coming here, by the way it smells and tastes, you will be getting a great Indian meal from people who know how to make one. Go here, and you won’t be sorry.

There you have it, the final chapter of the trilogy. I have a feeling that if Smeagol had some decent Indian food from Tandoor, maybe he wouldn’t have obsessed over a stupid gold ring, just sayin’

Words for the day…

Today is Friday, and the precious weekend is upon us (thank you again, Smeagol). So enjoy the end of the work week, you know I will be. And heck, if you see me out, shout a good restaurant idea at me, I’m open to suggestions, and free drinks. Peace out cub scouts!

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