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Dec 27, 2006 01:54 AM

Temptation's Indian Restaurant in Ypsilanti

I met one of my old grad school friends at this place. He is indian so I figured Indian was the way to go. His wife, who had gone to U of M for her engineering degree recommended Raja Rani but I had seen this place and saw the web site, so we decided to be adventurous.

The space was nicely done, it sits in a strip mall on Washtenaw. We greeted each other and went through the pretty extensive menu. We settled on samosas, methu vada, a lentil based doughtnut with sambur and a couple of sauces, Gilaffi Kebab, a chicken dish that was the house specialty and Baingan Bharta, egg plants mashed with onions and garlic.

The methu vada and samosas were excellent, of course, you can't really mess up fried stuff. The kebab dish was pretty much an indian version of fajitas with chicken kebobs. The chioken was ground and molded into kebobs and then served with fried onions and green peppers on a heated skillet. Nothing to write home about. The baingan was a huge disappointment to mey friend, he said they put way too much butter so that it overwhelmed the egg plant. I noticed the extraordinary amounts of garlic that was in the dish and scarfed it up. I noticed the butter factor only after he mentioned something.

The service was erratic, it seems they were having incredible amounts of problems. First the ice machine broke, then they ran out of regular coke. We ordered our food before a couple of other tables but we were the last to get our food for whatever reason.

What matters ultimately is the food, and the food was so-so. I liked the food here better than Shalimar's which isn't saying a whole lot. I am heading for Raja-Rani next.

My kingdom for good Indian.......

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  1. You should try Shalimar on Main Street, too. I prefer it to Ranja Rani, although I once had a good meal there at their lunchtime buffet.

    3 Replies
    1. re: momskitchen

      I did try Shalimar twice and I was underwhelmed. The service was great but the food was mediocre. And I was kind of ticked at how much they charged for pretty simple stuff, guess they had to pay for all that white linens and Main street address.

      1. re: Phaedrus

        Have you tried Mysore Woodlands? (314 Detroit Street in Ann Arbor, near Kerrytown). It is literally a hole in the wall, with no real seating to speak of. It is also completely vegetarian. I think it's probably the best Indian in the area, though.

        Among the more typical restaurants, I think Chennai Villas (207 N. Main in Ann Arbor) is probably my favorite. The decor is definitely nothing special, and the food is a little bit hit or miss. When they're on, though, it can be pretty good.

        I have also heard really good things about another small place that is located in an Indian grocery near U-M's north campus, named Foods of India. (1143 Broadway Street in Ann Arbor). They apparently will make take out food while you wait. I haven't had the chance to try them yet--they're on my list of places to get to.

        1. re: Phaedrus

          Have you tried the Shalimar on Washington? Its menu is different from the Main St. location and has some more unusual items.

          Mysore Woodlands is simple and cheap, all vegetarian. Foods & Flavors: takeout only, very tasty. Also easy on the wallet.

          All this said, with all the Indians in this area, there ought to be a real knockout Indian spot somewhere. I have not yet tried the new one in the N. Main restaurant graveyard spot.

      2. Didn't know there was one on Washington. I'll keep that in mind.

        How about the Earthen Jar? I saw it today while driving around.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Phaedrus

          Earthen Jar serves a buffet style collection of Indian dishes. You pick out what you want, and pay by weight. Nothing is particularly spicy. It's a decent place to get a quick and cheap meal, but it's not great food by any means.

          1. re: cawa

            Pay the homey-looking Indian lady at the register. Commune with the groovy U-M students. Sit at big round tables with them, even if you're not part of the group. Sample the fun mango desserts. Throw your paper plate in the trash when you're done. Not a place for an anniversary dinner, but it's the only restaurant of its type around these parts.

        2. I have read the Shalimar is closing on Washinton. It may be closed already. If you were underwhelmed by Shalimar, Phaedrus, my guess is you won't like Ranja Rani. I'd say the food is only so-so there, and definitely not as good as Shalimar.

          I've never had a bad meal at Shalimar, but the $$$ went up once they redecorated the place. My very favorite Indian food is "Star of India" in Berkley MI. If you are ever that way, give it a try. I thought Earthen Jar was bland; I can't get my husband to try Mysore Woodlands because it is vegetarian and he is a decided carnivore.

          1 Reply
          1. re: momskitchen

            You may be thinking of Shehan Shah on Washington, which has closed. I just ate at the Washington Shalimar, and it showed no signs of closing. That said, this time my meal (spinach chicken) was a little blah, although not bad.

            Other threads have mentioned Priya up in Farmington Hills near 275--that's my pick in metro Detroit at this point.

          2. The best Indian in Metro Detroit, per a co-worker of mine who is of Indian descent, will require a drive for Ann Arborites--it's called Ashoka, located in Troy (maybe Rochester Hills?) It's just north of Big Beaver on Dequindre, I believe. They are listed in the phone book and have a website. I'm by no means an authority on what's truly authentic Indian, but have eaten at Shalimar and Raja Rani, as well a half-dozen others in Greater Detroit. I have to agree that for my palate, Ashoka absolutely blows them all away. Service is good, too. As far as A2, I hear good things about Khana Kazana (excuse the spelling) but have not eaten there personally.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ignatz

              Khana Kazana renamed itself Chennai Vilas.

              Regarding Ashoka, it is good, but I wouldn't rate it good enough compared to the restaurants in Ann Arbor to warrant a special trip.

            2. I'm surprised there's been no mention of Madras Masala. I find it to be a notch above the other Indian restaurants in downtown A2, although as mentioned Earthen Jar and Mysore Woodlands have their own special place.