Tamarind Bay, I don't get it
I went to Tamarind Bay Friday night since my usual (Cafe of India) is closed for renovations and left very confused. It was a chilly evening so I was thrilled that the room was so warm and inviting. The atmosphere is quite nice.
I was looking forward to trying out TB since hearing so much about it here on the board.
I ordered a MURGH MALAI PALAK (chicken cooked in spinach sauce). It was very very bland. My DC ordered Murgh Makhani (not on the menu) so that we could compare it to other restaurants that we enjoy. Again, this was just very boring and bland. Our meal was disappointing. The chicken in both dishes was tough as leather.
Additionally, my dinner was served on a half-moon shaped dish with a very low edge that made it just about impossible to scoop up any sauce and transfer it to my plate without having it slop on the table.
What did we miss about this place? What do people like about Tamarind Bay that they can’t get at other Indian restaurants?
I really love the combinations of different spices that make recipes unique from one Indian restaurant to another and I do realize that each batch would differ from one another; however, I just feel that the meal I had at Tamarind Bay would be a good starter meal for someone who doesn't venture far from meat and potatoes. I make a better murgh makhini at home.
"I just feel that the meal I had at Tamarind Bay would be a good starter meal for someone who doesn't venture far from meat and potatoes."
I don't understand this statement - you DID order murgh makhani (butter chicken) which is one of the most ubiquitous, novice-friendly Indian dishes, sort of the 'pad thai' of Indian restaurants in America.
Tamarind Bay is liked because its dishes stray away from the same old standards found at every other Indian place in town. Not the same pink chicken tikka masala, soggy mutter paneer, and greasy alu gobi that you can get anywhere.
I have had some fantastic experiences at Tamarind Bay, exactly for the reasons that Prav describes -- it was the only local Indian restaurant I knew that was doing a creative, fine-dining approach to Indian without getting fusion-y with some non-Indian cuisine -- but I haven't been back in a while.
There have been some reports that they have dumbed down the menu, and the very presence of butter chicken on the menu (a dish I associate with the kind of awful Indian place that uses this dish to recycle yesterday's tandoor chicken) isn't a good sign to me.
Have any other Hounds some fairly fresh reports to offer?
We are huge TB fans - I have never, ever ordered anything there that I could get at a run-of-the-mill Indian place . . . it's exciting to us that TB specializes in inventive cuisine. If you want to order things that are more usual, TB is not your spot. I have heard of the "dumbing down" that MC Slim reports but haven't experienced it myself . . . my husband has said he's not fond of the buffet that's offered for lunch. When we go to TB, we look for the most interesting and unusual dishes offered and also take the advice of some good Indian friends of ours and order things that aren't offered on the menu. We've also had them cater for us and the food was fantastic, as was the service - our guests are still talking about what a great, unusual meal we had. Sorry you were disappointed - but I have to say that it doesn't sound like TB is your kinda place.
re: gansu girl
i've only been for the lunch buffet, and i feel that it may have gone downhill a bit over the last few years. this is only a vague impression, however, since i don't go that often. but since the board seems unified in endorsing their dinner menu....any suggestions on standouts or must-try's off the regular menu?
I very much enjoy bold and inventive cuisine.
My approach to TB for my first visit was not unlike many hounds approach to a first attempt at a new pizzeria - they order a straight red sauce and cheese pizza to get a good idea of where the kitchen stands on basics.
I ordered the Makhani, something not on the menu in an effort to see how wonderful the dish could be when made by an inventive kitchen. I expected the kitchen to turn out a great rendition of normal ordinary but enjoyable dish; however, what came out was extremely bland and forgetful.
Sorry, I think your analogy is flawed. How about, "My approach to TB for my first visit was not unlike many hounds approach to a first attempt at a new Chinese restaurant -- they order a beef and broccoli or General Gau's chicken to get a good idea of where the kitchen stands on basics"? Or "My approach to TB for my first visit was not unlike many hounds approach to a first attempt at a new Japanese restaurant -- they order a California roll or teriyaki beef to get a good idea of where the kitchen stands on basics"? Or "My approach to TB for my first visit was not unlike many hounds approach to a first attempt at a new Neopolitan trattoria -- they order a spaghetti with meatballs or a spinach calzone to get a good idea of where the kitchen stands on basics"?
Murgh makani isn't a dish made from leftover tandoori chicken. While it's a basic dish at one level, it also takes skill and effort to produce a delicious version. Among other things, this can involve hours if not overnight marination in yogurt and spices. Whipping one up at the last minute, without advance preparation, would be unlikely to result in an exemplary version.
I recently went there myself for the first time--and LOVED it. Had, in fact, the Chicken in the Spinach Sauce, and thought it delightful and extremely flavorful. The chicken in our dishes was definitely not leathery--maybe you hit an off night? Regardless, if you're looking for inventive, it might be worth a second trip to try out some of the items that really give the kitchen license for creativity.