Indian in Tallahassee
Mrs. Crew and I tried Essence of India last night. In the New Leaf strip mall near olive Garden on Appalachee Pwy. Better ambience and larger room than Samarat further east. Albeit they mixed and matched a variety of chairs. We did the sampler dinner for two...samosa, pakora, brijini--and I mean that all singularly, one of each shared by 2 people. We had lamb and chicken curries (choice of 2). More gravy than meat, but the meat was tender and in chunks. Naan was decent but a bit too oily for my preference. The tandoor chicken at another table looked very succulent. Mrs, Crew subbed rice pudding for the ghlum j...(fried pastry) dessert offered with the meal. Use a straw to drink it instead of the tiny sppon they give you. Did notice some Indian families eating there.
Waitstaff is very friendly and attentive. We'll probably try it again and order off the menu versus the sampler and a different dessert. Taj Mahjal and Kingfisher beers. Wine also available but didn't review the list.
They have a great lunch special. I think that it is around $6.99. It includes a small salad, a cup of soup, all the naan that you want, rice, an entree and dessert. It's a great deal. I've been about ten times and have always enjoyed it. I enjoy it more than I do Samrat's lunch buffet.
It's better than Samrat, and the cumin-scented rice is seriously yummy, but it's still hit-and-miss. One night my vindaloo was perfect; another night it was watery and bland, after I had emphasized that I wanted it Indian-hot. Overall it's a fine local place that reminds me of the so-so Indian restaurants that once crowded Sixth in Manhattan. They're gone now, I've heard, but you could get a good cheap meal. $6.99 at Essence of India is certainly better-spent than at its neighbor, The Olive Garden. (But eat elsewhere at nice Indian restaurants, such as Amber India in San Jose, and Essence of India will not seem quite so good. It's only Tallahassee-good.)