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New Indian Restaurant in Wakefield

hiddenboston Oct 18, 2007 05:44 AM

Has anyone been to India's Finest on Water Street in Wakefield? I just heard about the place this morning, but know little about it, and there is absolutely nothing on the Internet about it.

  1. r
    RichardA Oct 18, 2007 07:04 AM

    I have not heard about it. Do you know the address? There is a relatively new Indian place at 23 Water St. called Karishma Indian Bistro. I wonder if they already changed names?

    5 Replies
    1. re: RichardA
      hiddenboston Oct 18, 2007 07:09 AM

      Yes, the address is 23 Water Street. The owner actually contacted me earlier today, saying they had just recently opened.

      1. re: hiddenboston
        b
        Bostonbob3 Oct 18, 2007 07:29 AM

        A Google of Karishma Indian Bistro shows quite a few positive comments on the place. Same food, same owners, different name now?

        1. re: Bostonbob3
          hiddenboston Oct 18, 2007 07:40 AM

          I don't know about the same owners part. The person who contacted me said that he and his wife just opened the place up.

          I might have to drive by the place tomorrow to see what's up (I'll be in the area anyways).

          1. re: hiddenboston
            b
            Bostonbob3 Oct 18, 2007 07:52 AM

            Wonder what he means by "just." The comments I read were from July/August, talking about a good new Indian place.

            1. re: Bostonbob3
              r
              RichardA Oct 18, 2007 08:58 AM

              I had been to Karishma a few times and the food was excellent. Great vindaloo and naan. And the portions were good-sized.

              But, the menu was somewhat limited and the ambience was a bit lacking. There were always two large screen TVs going, playing an Indian version of MTV. Not quite conducive to families. Plus, they never seemed real busy.

    2. hiddenboston Oct 18, 2007 11:28 AM

      All right, I just got an email from India's Finest; according to the new owner, Karishma was bought out, and everything is new, including staff, menu, and chefs.

      If anyone tries it, let us know!

      3 Replies
      1. re: hiddenboston
        r
        RichardA Oct 18, 2007 11:33 AM

        Thanks for the update. Maybe I will stop by there for lunch tomorrow.

        1. re: RichardA
          r
          RichardA Oct 19, 2007 09:41 AM

          I went there for lunch today.

          The decor is slightly different, more just a couple different decorations. And the TVs are still there, playing Indian MTV. I did not se any of the same staff as once was in Karishma.

          For lunch, they have a buffet ($7.99) and it is very similar to the one that used to be at Karishma. The menu is different, and more extensive with all the usual Indian dishes. Karishma used to only have 2 kinds of breads but now there are 10.

          Instead of the buffet, I ordered a spicy Chicken Vindaloo ($10), Tandorri Roti and Punjabi Prantha. I got a decent sized dish of chicken and potatoes. The meat was very tender and I only needed a fork to cut the pieces. The vindaloo was very good, spicy though not overwhelming. It came with the standard Basmati rice. Both breads ($2 each) were tasty, and well buttered. Overall, a very good meal.

          1. re: RichardA
            hiddenboston Oct 19, 2007 10:10 AM

            Thanks for the report. I'll try to get over there the next time I'm in the area.

      2. c
        cs4224 Nov 18, 2007 03:48 AM

        Went last night and the food was excellent. Good quality ingredients cooked with just the right amount of heat (we ordered everything medium on the spice scale). Breads were baked light and fluffy. Even ordered a second naan to dip in the sauces. Highly recommend it. Much easier than driving in town for good Indian food!!

        1. Chris VR Nov 19, 2007 04:10 AM

          My friends live in Wakefield and have been raving to me about it. They also liked Karishma and say this is better.

          -----
          India's Finest
          23 Water Street, Wakefield, MA 01880

          1. n
            njb Nov 24, 2007 04:41 AM

            My wife and I posted our experience with this new place back in October:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/455157

            We are glad to see that this place is catching on since we love going there and want to see it succeed:)

            1. almansa Nov 24, 2007 09:11 AM

              My wife and kids recently went and said it was quite tasty. They put on a par with Rang in Stoneham.

              1. b
                Beery Jan 26, 2008 09:18 PM

                We went out to eat at India's Finest tonight. We've eaten there before and the food is generally extremely good, so in general I'd recommend it to everyone. However, I'd never had a vindaloo there because although it's my favourite dish I find that American restaurants don't make it well. But tonight I figured that since all the rest of their food is uniformly good I'd try the Chicken Vindaloo.

                Vindaloo was originally based on a pork dish brought to Goa by the portuguese. Eventually it was married with spices grown in the region to produce the dish we have today. Due to a mis-translation potatoes are often added to the meal (aloo means potato in Hindi but vindaloo actually comes from the Portuguese 'carne de vinho e alhos' - meat laced with vinegar and garlic).

                Now, as I said, vindaloo is a dangerous dish to order in the USA because it is often extremely underspiced. As any vindaloo fan knows, in order to get the correct taste from a vindaloo it must be VERY spicy. I find that underspiced vindaloos often taste bad, but I can only assume that Indian restaurants in the US have fallen victim to too many customers who have ordered vindaloos without understanding that vindaloo is an EXTREMELY spicy dish. Either that, or the chefs they hire simply don't know how to make it properly (which is possible - I understand vindaloo is actually not a popular dish in much of India). Now vindaloo is an acquired taste - definitely not for the uninitiated - but rather than educate the customer it seems the restaurants have tended to tone down the dish instead. This results in a sub-par vindaloo because it's the hot spices that bring out the taste.

                Anyway, I have to report that, sadly, India's Finest offers a vindaloo which is by no means "India's finest". I asked for the vindaloo to be spicy but what I actually ate was very mild indeed (along the lines of a biryani or korma), which brings out the worst in the flavours of this particular dish. In my opinion if a vindaloo doesn't make me sweat and if I leave my water glass unfinished it just ain't spicy enough.

                All-in-all I heartily recommend India's Finest UNLESS you're a vindaloo fan. Sadly I'm still in search of a good vindaloo from an American restaurant in the Boston area.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Beery
                  b
                  Beery Jan 26, 2008 09:52 PM

                  As a sort of counterpoint to my own review I'm posting this excerpt from Eric Asimov's article in the New York Times:

                  "In fairness to these restaurants, the problems are not entirely their fault. They are, to a certain extent, responding to a clientele that seems to cry out for dull food, ordering the spiciest dish on a menu and insisting that it be served ''mild.'' At first, restaurants may chalk up such timidity to the strange ways of this country, but soon enough they discard cooking traditions they intended to uphold. "

                  I'm thinking that perhaps this is the issue with India's Finest's vindaloo. The problem seems to be that many people come into a restaurant with a macho 'I can handle spicy food' attitude and when they find that vindaloo is well beyond anything they've expected, they complain.

                  1. re: Beery
                    b
                    Beery Feb 22, 2008 05:22 PM

                    I have to admit that I've probably sold India's Finest a little short in my earlier review. Today I went back and my dining experience was perfect. I also found that the reason for me being less than perfectly satisfied before was probably caused by me not speaking up and telling the wait staff exactly what I wanted.

                    Because the rest of their menu is virtually perfect I was determined to get their vindaloo spiced to my taste. I asked the waiter for it to be made very very spicy - extremely spicy. When the food came out it was fairly spicy, but still not as spicy as I'm used to in Indian restaurants in England. I told the waiter that it was pretty good but not quite as spicy as I was used to. He then told me that he'd get some extra green peppers for me. I was skeptical that peppers added after the meal was cooked would do the trick. He brought out a little dish of small diced green peppers (about the size of chili peppers) - I mixed these in and the meal was exactly as spicy as vindaloos I've had in England, and the spices brought the vindaloo flavour out perfectly - exactly how vindaloo is supposed to be. He said the secret was the green peppers - they actually add spice where other peppers/spices wouldn't have the same effect. So if you're visiting India's Finest and you find the vindaloo not as spicy as you like, ask for them to make it spicier by adding the green peppers - they'll know what you mean. Be careful adding them though - they do add quite a bit of heat to the dish. I swallowed a good two glasses of water and a beer and I was perspiring a little by the end of the meal - just the effect I feel a truly great vindaloo should have.

                    So I guess the moral of the story is that if you want a meal spiced a certain way, all you have to do is let them know.

                    All-in-all, with this little trick with their vindaloo recipe, I'd have to say that this is the best Indian restaurant I've visited in the US - and I've visited a lot in both Southern California and in the Boston area. I've tasted many of the India's Finest dishes and they are all phenomenal. The sauces are perfect and they will spice food to your taste if you make them aware of exactly what you want. The wait staff is very attentive and friendly and so I'd have to say that this is actually the best Indian restaurant I've ever eaten in - and that includes Indian restaurants in England. No lover of Indian food should be disappointed after a visit to this fabulous restaurant.

                2. davis_sq_pro Jun 19, 2008 08:27 AM

                  Does anyone know what happened to this place? We were getting delivery orders from there fairly often and then last week I called and the line was disconnected. A few days later I stopped by at lunchtime and it was closed. No explanatory sign on the door or anything like that... Really disappointing.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: davis_sq_pro
                    s
                    shaebones Jun 20, 2008 11:07 PM

                    Happened to drive by there yesterday and saw a sign in the window that said Cafe Italia from East Boston coming soon. Is this a good thing?

                    1. re: shaebones
                      davis_sq_pro Jun 21, 2008 11:56 AM

                      Menu looks OK:

                      http://www.trattoriacaffeitalia.com/e...

                      But I can't say that replacing one of the only Indian restaurants in the area with yet another Italian place can possibly be a good thing, even if the new place were superb...

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro
                        Karl S Jun 22, 2008 10:39 AM

                        Yes. The last thing we need more of is Italian restaurants. We have more of them than fast food chains.

                    2. re: davis_sq_pro
                      l
                      Ladycale Jun 21, 2008 06:28 PM

                      I've got to say I' m pretty bummed about this. My husband and I are always on the lookout for good places that deliver to Reading (we're new parents with no time to cook) and we loved having the option of Indian. What a shame.

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