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MSP - Gandhi Mahal

Went there for dinner last night; mostly good, but nothing terribly exciting.

Firstly, the two adjoining rooms are decorated very nicely with vivid east Indian colors and saris; very nice, though for food that is usually shared, the two-tops are quite small.

No beer or wine yet - didn't try any of their specialy lassis, but many tables were; they looked very refreshing.

Now on to the food - complimentary papadums and mint or tamarind chutney when you sit down - very nice.

The entree's though, were only OK. The mixed tandoori grill consisted of lamb, chicken, goat, and shrimp. The shrimp (1 small one) was nothing to speak of at all. The meats were very tender, but they didn't taste of tandoor - they could have been grilled for all I know.

We also had the palak paneer, paneer with spinach sauce, and the paneer was delicious; most times it's just texture and not much flavor, but they definately stood out. The spinach sauce was very boring - not much flavor.

The meal came with a basic basmati rice that was fine, but the naan (which comes separately) was really delicious; puffy and chewy on the edges and crisp and yummy in the middle - the garlic was especially delightful.

Didn't try any of the desserts as were were full and I have to admit are too sweet for my taste anyway.

If this place wasn't so close to my house I probably wouldn't make a special trip to go again, but since they are giving out 25% off coupons for a return visit, I'll go again to be fair and check out other items.

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  1. Where is it at?

    3 Replies
    1. re: St Paul Susie

      27th and E. Lake next to Midori's Floating World Cafe. They don't seem to have a website yet.

      1. re: St Paul Susie

        Here's a Places link for Gandhi Mahal.

        There's also a recent "first look" mention on City Pages (at http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2008/... ).

        Anne

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        Gandhi Mahal
        3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

        1. re: AnneInMpls

          In addition to the "first look" in the blog, James Norton reviewed Gandhi Mahal (the short "a la carte" review) in the City Pages today:

          http://www.citypages.com/2008-06-18/r...

      2. I live close by and got take out. The Lamb Coconut Curry and Garlic Naan. I thought it was absolutely delicious. The owners are very friendly and the atmosphere was a lot nicer than I had expected. I will definitely be going back.

        1. I went to Gandhi Mahal for dinner tonight. It was great!

          We ordered some papadums, which were fine - nothing special - but the accompanying sauces (tamarind, cilantro chutney, and onion relish) were much better than most places' versions. They definitely didn't taste like they came from a jar.

          Then we had the Persian Dansak with lamb (in a smooth sauce of cooked-down lentils and tomatoes) and Palak Paneer (spinach and house-made "cheese") - both dishes ordered medium. I loved them both - quite spicy (as in hot) and flavorful (as in full of spices). Mr. Tastebud says that their medium is at "the high end of medium" for the Twin Cities - he found the dishes quite hot. Me, I thought it was just right, but my tolerance for heat is higher than his.

          The garlic nan was great, too - lots of freshly minced garlic on top. I also had salty lassi (I don't like the sweet versions with food), and it was delicious - based on their rich, house-made yogurt and not too much salt. It's the best lassi I've had in the Twin Cities (though I haven't sampled them all...).

          We didn't order dessert, but the waiter brought us a sample of the pistachio-saffron kulfi (ice cream) that was delicious. I will try to save room for this next time!

          I love that they're open late on Sundays - we didn't get there until 8:30, so we were very happy that the place is open until 10:00. We were the only people there, and the service was great (perhaps that's obvious, but it's not always a given when a place is non-busy).

          The cool thing about Gandhi Mahal is that they offer sample sizes of many of their dishes for a few dollars each, as well as samples of the lassi - almost like Indian tapas. :-) It would be a fun way to try a lot of things for not much money (or calories).

          Anne

          4 Replies
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            >>quite spicy (as in hot)

            I"m calling you out on this one. I ordered my palak paneer Bollywood hot (the hottest they offer), and it was barely zingy. It had a noticeable afterglow, but only noticeable. And the people I was with felt the same way about their dishes. Sadly, none of the Indian restos in the twins (since New Delhi closed) offer truly hot hot HOT Indian food. I guess you sum it up well with your comment that they are geared toward Twin Cities taste buds.

            Don't get me wrong. I do think Ghandi Mahal is one of the tastier venues in town. Just not hot enough for me.

            Interesting to note that Ghandi was a vegetarian, and the resto offers meat.

            1. re: Loren3

              Order your food 'Indian Hot' at Best of India and see if that's hot enough for you. Really wonderfully spicy and HOT!

              1. re: MplsM ary

                This place? Cool. I have a friend who runs Four Firkins across the street. Combine Indian with a beer run! The Vegetable Green Masala sounds yummy. It looks like no beer or wine, though.

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                Best of India
                8120 Minnetonka Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55426

                1. re: Loren3

                  That's the place.

                  When last I dined at Best of India the waiter asked how spicy I wanted my Aloo Muttar and I said, "Spicy. Really, I mean spicy!." To which he replied, "Oh you mean Indian spicy? Because I have to warn you it really is very hot." He was right. Boy was I happy! And the leftovers were unbelievably tasty the next day, too.

                  They do have a very small wine and beer list but you might call and ask if they'd allow you to bring in something from Four Firkins. Maybe if you tipped them a bottle that could be the corkage? Worth asking, anyway.

          2. We tried this place for the first time this afternoon and had the lunch buffet. It was excellent. The naan was outstanding and the waitress went around to each table with a fresh batch. At the end of our meal, the waitress brought out some home-made ice cream that was really tasty--not too sweet and quite creamy. We thought the buffet was priced well at $10 and will definitely be going back. Not that it matters much to us, but the decor of the place was really nice and it had a cool ambiance. It is a family business and the people working there were all really friendly and appreciative.

            1. I ate there last night and took enough food home for today's lunch. Very romantic, warm and colorful. The spice is perfect, and the lamb dildar is the most tender I have ever eaten. Usually I go there for the 9 dollar lunch buffet, but night time dining has its own ambience, and the lighting is fantsic. I am a fan of Gandhi Mahal Minneapolis! I noticed that one restaurant in Ontario is even trying to copy their style now!
              I was

              1. Just went tonight with a friend, and had an outstanding experience.

                Papadum and sauces. Indian restaurants OWN the amuse bouche.

                I started with the yellow dal soup, which for $2 a bowl, has to rate as the best soup deal in town. Subtle, buttery, with an elaborate finish. Don't skip the soup.

                Friend and I split the aloo chat, which I would describe as a refreshing potato salad. It was light, airy, delicious, and not long for the table.

                For entrees, we stuck to the basics. Friend had the palak paneer, which was nice a velvety smooth. I had the chicken tikka masala.

                I ordered my entree Bollywood jana (extra hot) and got the white man's warning, with a follow up admonition that I would need LOT'S of water. If I were the waitress, I'd be trying to upsell a mango lassi, cause drinking water is futile, don'cha'know.

                At any rate, the extra caution was unwarranted, though I felt that the spice level complimented the dish nicely, and I was especially impressed with the fact that the dish wasn't remotely greasy.

                Overall, this rates as a substantial addition to an otherwise weak genre for the Twin Cities. It is a wine and beer license from joining the top tier of fine dining establishments.

                2 Replies
                1. re: kevin47

                  We were checking out the 2010 Happenings book and found this place in there. The food was spectacular and especially with the buy-1-get-1 coupon, it was a great deal. It was a pleasant surprise to see bottles of wine starting at $19. There were also several different beer to choose from.

                  The appetizers were well priced. We ordered the coconut soup ($3-4) and the assorted appetizer combo ($5). I was a little unprepared for the coconut soup. I guess I was expecting more of a curry flavor. The soup was intensely coconut flavored, but grew on me as I ate it. The appetizer tray had an assortment of a half dozen or so different items. It was fun to try a few different things.

                  For mains, we ordered Coconut Curry with lamb and the Birayani Kazana, also with lamb. We asked for the Coconut curry medium and the Birayani very hot. They delivered on the spices and the the dishes were really well flavored. It was also great that the food was not greasy, either. Even after stuffing ourselves, we still took home enough leftovers for another few lunches.

                  Additionally, the service was also great! We'll visit this restaurant again.

                  1. re: spunky_monkey

                    Also, for those that have never been or haven't been in a while, Ghandi Mahal took over Midori's old spot next door, so there is a side dining room and a kid's play area. A girl about 7 whom I assumed is the owner's daughter was hanging out there. This is perfect for parents like us who want a nice meal and not have to worry that our child stay on her best behavior. The dining room feels a bit funny, mostly because you keep thinking, "there used to be a sushi bar over there" but the odd ambiance is worth the food and family friendliness.

                    I'm also surprised to read up thread about the lack of spiciness people experienced. We went a few weeks ago with my parents and ordered the palak paneer and a special entree of chicken and black pepper (I think - those two things were in the title) as a medium. Both my husband and I who can handle spice were happily surprised at how spicy it was, and my parents who are a bit more wimpy thought it was quite spicy.

                2. I tried it last night for the 1st time. I had the chicken tikka masala, mulligatawny soup, and garlic naan bread. I was thoroughly impressed. Everything tasted fresh and authentic. The only drawback was the price. It was expensive, but definitely a place worth going back to.

                  And I asked for medium spice and it was pretty damn spicy. I can handle spice and they didn't skimp on that.

                  1. Stumbled upon this place last Saturday night. We had planned to dine with our neighbors at Heartland Wine Bar. It opens at 5:30, and we planned to show at 6:00. Tables already full, and we didn't want to eat dinner (four of us) at the bar. On to Craftsman. Also packed. At 6:15. Hey, great for the Twin Cities!

                    So we decided we'd just drive west on Lake Street. We thought about Town Talk, but parking is usually a hassle, so we were thinking about further west. Coming near Town Talk, however, we spied a place to park directly across the street. Then we stepped out of the car. "I smell curry," two of us said, and we went in search of the source. That's how we ended up at Gandhi Mahal.

                    Similar impression to many of the above posters. Papadums were great with the accompnaying sauces -- very fresh. Second batch of onion relish hotter than first, so it might be made in small batches. My wife ordered her shrimp Dewani medium, and the server talked her down to mild. It was incredibly mild. I decided to order my mushroom paneer between mild and medium. Next time, I'll go medium (if not spicier). By my wife said there was plenty of spice for her in my dish.

                    Worth coming back to.

                    -----
                    Gandhi Mahal
                    3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Brad Ballinger

                      HAHA! I was going to go to Heartland and ended up at Gandhi Mahal. Hardly the obvious back-up plan, but, still funny how these things go. Thanks for the report back!

                      ~TDQ

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                      Gandhi Mahal
                      3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Had lunch there recently with some friends and found it very enjoyable.. In general, I find it hard to distinguish between Indian buffet places -- they're generally scored in my mind as good or not worth going back. Most score good.

                        At Gandhi Mahal, some of us ordered off the menu. They have 3 - 4 different kinds of naan there and these were a real delight. The one with garlic was my favorite. Puffy at the edges, chewy but thin in the middle.

                        I tried Midori for lunch today. Much of the 45 minutes I spent waiting to be served revolved around walking across the street to Gandhi Mahal.

                        -----
                        Gandhi Mahal
                        3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

                        1. re: discus

                          I ordered food to take out last night and have eaten there 5 times. The one overwhelming factor that really bugs me is they use WAY too much cardamom; it absolutely deadens all the other flavors. I had 2 entrees, the lamb Josh Rogan and a chicken Sagwalla, and both my guy and I agreed that the sauces tasted exactly the same, even though one had spinach in it. No nuance of any other spice. Very off-putting.

                          1. re: SmartCookie

                            I agree, SmartCookie. I found the Rogan Josh to have way too much cardamom and cinnamon for my palate.

                            1. re: soccermom13

                              I should have mentioned that I bit into several whole cardamom pods; they really should be removed before serving.

                    2. I went there recently since I had heard some pleasant buzz and I love Indian. The food was ok, nothing exceptional, but is was the service that will make me never go back.
                      First off, I love spicy food. So when I ordered, I specified "Indian hot." The server argued with me! She said "You mean medium?" And I responded, "No, thanks, I prefer as hot as you make it." When the food came it was, needless to say, medium.