Tamil Nadu Bhavan - anyone been?
Has anyone been to Tamil Nadu Bhavan (http://www.tamilnadubhavan.com/index.php)? It seems to be a new place on Lexington near 28th. I’ve never heard of it before; I just stumbled upon it while browsing Indian restaurants on Menupages.com.
If anyone has been, can you share a little about the quality of the food, ambience, and the condition of their private room (if it even exists)? I’m trying to plan a small luncheon for my brother’s wedding reception and my family would really like South Indian food, but the problem is that none of the South Indian places in the city are nice enough (which is why we’ll probably end up at Devi).
Hi there. I have been to Tamil Nadu Bhavan 2 times and I have to report on my experience!!
I am an avid foodie and I fully appreciate the fact that when it comes to some ethnic / international cuisine, you have to compromise service / ambiance slightly in favor of authentic food. I know this is not Babbo! But, all that being said, I was HIGHLY disappointed with my second experience at this restaurant. Here's the full story:
Visit #1 - - I had a day off and my husband and a friend ate here for the lunch special. Excellent food, excellent value. We each got the Tamilnadu Thali for 6.95 - more food than we could finish and high quality authentic thali for great prices. After 1 thali came, it took a little while for the other two to come. But not unreasonably long (3-5 minutes). We all got to eat while our food was still hot.
Visit #2 - Based on the great experience, I nominated this restaurant as a place to take my family for lunch to celebrate some birthdays. I am Indian and have eaten thali at more expensive restaurants in NY (Vattan) and also in Bombay. I was looking forward to sharing an authentic eating experience with my family - and it was a soredisappointment. First of all - note that their weekend prices are more expensive - which is fine - still 13.00 bucks or so for a thali. The problem was we were 8 people, and we all ordered different things this time, whereas the first time everyone eating had the same thing. We were eating lunch for about 2 hours - because NONE of the food arrived on time! My mom and I got our iddly sambar (steamed rice patties and lentil soup) first - but we had ordered if for our meal. It took 20 minutes for one other guest to get his meal, and another 20 minutes for the next, and so on! We ordered lassi, which they served us piecemeal as well (although I could see the manager pouring it out of a huge jug - so I have no idea why one person was served and another had to wait!). The lassi was room temperature - which if you've ever had it, is not tasty at all. We asked for ice, and the waiter looked at me quizzically. 20 minutes later, I saw the manager breaking up ice from the type of ice bag you would buy at a corner store . . . I am fairly certain they had no ice or their ice machine was broken. My father did not get his uttapum until we were literally all done eating. All this time - the restaurant was fairly EMPTY - there was hardly anyone there!
When we had not received all of our food, we asked the waiter how long it would be and he said the food would be out shortly, which it wasn't. We paid the check and complained again. After complaining twice - and being clearly in the right - you would expect that they would give us free dessert or SOMETHING to redeem themselves. But nothing was done!
I have to say, this is not the first time that this has happened to me at a traditional and authentic Indian restaurant. And unfortunately, there are not that many places to get South Indian food in Manhattan. Next time I will be trying Saranavas Bhavan which is a block away - hopefully it will be better. If I ever go back to Tamil Nadu (which won't be for a while because I am holding a grudge) I will only go for a week-day lunch special, where all of my party are ordering the same meal . . . .
Would love to love this restaurant - but the service sucked!