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Oct 16, 2007 10:57 PM

Origin India in Las Vegas: Outstanding!

We had heard about this place from a local, and saw a couple of mentions on this board. Up to now, since we’d only found below-average Indian food in Las Vegas, we decided it was time to give this place a try.

Before ordering, we were given a plate of nice papadums with cilantro and tamarind sauces. We opted for the non-vegetarian tasting menu --$70 for two; additional persons @ $35 each. Way more food than we could handle, and amazing quality.

We had a choice of soup or salad, so we started out with mulligatawny and tomato/cilantro soups. They both were quite tasty and flavorful, but the tomato/cilantro was a bit too spicy-hot for either of us (we do like spicy food, but this was almost incendiary). Fortunately, everything that followed was just about right in spiciness. Next came appetizers: Southern Grilled Fish—which was mildly spiced sole, and Kodi Vepudu--“chicken tenders in mustard sauce”. The mustard was just an ingredient, not a prominent flavor—which was fine with us. These were both great dishes, and would have made excellent entrees.

Next came mint chicken --from the tandoor--mildly spiced and incredibly tender, and Lamb Boti Kebab --spiced, apparently marinated tender chunks of lamb, and a plateful of breads—regular naan, garlic naan, and paratha --sort of a layered bread. All very good.

On to the main course: Chicken Makhani (aka Butter Chicken), although we were given a choice of various chicken and lamb dishes. We’re huge fans of the butter chicken at our favorite Indian place, Amber India in Mountain View, CA--this is the first butter chicken that’s come close. Excellent, deep flavor. The menu said we also got rice, but they instead brought Lamb Biriyani, which seemed to be more of a lamb/spicy-rice main course—very good as well.

Finally, dessert. They brought out a trio: Mango Kulfi—think of the richest ice cream you’ve ever had, triple the butter, and flavor it with fresh mango, and you’ll be pretty close--just luscious. Then a sort of corn pudding—this was only soso. Lastly, Beets Halwa—the surprise of the evening. When the waiter told us the name, we were naturally skeptical of a beet dessert. It was one of the better desserts we’ve ever had. Along with the beets, there was a fair amount of butter, brown sugar, dried fruits, some kind of ground nut, and various other ingredients we can’t remember. Rich and addictive, very complex flavors.

As we were paying the check, we told the waiter we planned to write about the restaurant in Chowhound. The couple at the next table overheard this—it turned out it was fellow ‘Hound and frequent poster “Janet of Reno” and her husband!

Overall, great food, pleasant, upscale décor, friendly and very attentive service, and a real bargain—we were stuffed and brought lots of food home. Next time we’ll try the vegetarian tasting menu at $60 for two. Although we’re still stuffed, we are already looking forward to the next visit.

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  1. Thank's Steve for the great review. Beet's Halwa is described on the menu as grated beets cooked in butter, sugar and dry fruits finished with dry milk powder and flavored with green cardmon powder and garnished with pistachios and almonds. Looks like I know what I will be having for dessert next trip to Origin India.

    1. Steve, I'm also crazy over their beets halwa and glad to see it mentioned here.

      1. Imagine my surprise to be just sitting down to dinner and hearing someone at an adjacent table mention Chowhound!! It was fun to meet a fellow chowhound under such unexpected circumstances.

        Jerry and I weren't hungry enough for the tasting menu, although it did look good. We started out with Bhel was ok. Just ok. Not Vik's, if you know what I mean. DH (Who is VERY picky about Indian restaurants) was prepared not to like the place...but changed his mind as soon as he got his entree: an eggplant dish. It was wonderful: roasted eggplant in a yogurt sauce that was absolutely delicious. I forget the name of the entree, but its the only eggplant vegetarian choice. YUM! Its similar to Benghan Bartha. I had the fish (it was a sole) stew in Southern Indian spices. DH pronounced both dishes excellent, and they were. Spicy but not overwhelmingly so.

        Based on Steve's recommendation as he was leaving, we split the beets Halwa for desert. I love beets; DH doesn't, but he agreed to try them. He took one bite and I had to fight him to even get a taste!!! They are indeed wonderful.

        I chose the restaurant based on its proximity to our hotel and a recent mention here. We will definitely be back!!

        4 Replies
        1. re: janetofreno

          The eggplant dish is Baingan dahiwala – roasted eggplant cooked with yogurt and onions in a cashew sauce.

          1. re: westie

            Yes, that's it. Thanks for helping with brain fade there. It really is delicious...had a sweet/spicy tone that DH and I really liked.

            btw, I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea that the tables are overly close from the fact that I overheard Steve mention Chowhound. The place is spacious and very attractive. At 8:30 on a Tuesday night it was fairly busy and fairly noisy. I guess somehow the word "Chowhound" jumped into my ear :-)

            We already have plans next time we're down south on a Friday night to attend their "Tabla Fusion Friday" (10:00 pm to 2:00 am). Oh, and that's another good point: the restaurant is open late every night (until at least 11:30pm....).

          2. re: janetofreno

            An update: took friends to dinner here after a UNLV concert. Its proximity to the University makes it perfect for such its strip mall location means that parking is easy.

            It proved to be a good choice: our friends really enjoyed it. I had the lamb masala and it was delicious; my friend had the tandoori lamb...very tender. DH had his eggplant, and someone else chicken vindaloo. We shared an order of beet halwa for desert. Plenty of food.

            One interesting fact to remember: a couple of our friends we ate with are Pakistani, and one eats only halal meats and doesn't speak much English. She was going to stick to the vegetarian menu, until the manager came over to chat as we were discussing the menu. (He may have overheard us trying to explain the menu to her: many Pakistani and Indian dishes are of course very similar but often with different names). It turns out she speaks Punjabi as well as Urdu, so he started chatting with her in Punjabi. She explained that she was sticking to vegetarian dishes because she doesn't eat non-Halal meat, and he reassured her that they use only Halal meat in the restaurant. Good to know.

            1. re: janetofreno

              Anyone who dines there might want to visit Origin India's website and provide them feed back. You will subsequently receive an email offering you a $10 discount on your next visit. Locals should also consider signing-up on your next visit for the restaurant's VIP club, I believe for every $100 spent you receive a $10 credit on a future purchase. There are also discounted restaurant certificates available.