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Nov 4, 2009 05:53 AM

Kebab and Tandoor Waltham, Best Indian Inside 128

Increasingly I have hit them all:

India Pavillion, India Quality, which I hit recently due to chowhound recs are both just so so. Not bad, not great. There are many other forgettable Indian places in Boston, few really worth mention.

I like Tamarind Bay but they can be inconsistent. Guru is good, but pretty simplified. Mela is good, and the decor is great.

Kathmandu Spice is excellent, but after all it is essentially Nepali so not quite a match.

It has been a while since I hit K&T in Waltham cause I often have a hard time dragging folks out there. That said, It ALWAYS delivers, and last night was no exception:

Me and two DCs hit it, but not that hard:

We had the fried chili appetizer, crispy, spicey, juicy, awesome as usual.

Excellent Chapati.

Superb Dal

Haleem a long simmered dairy and meat dish covered with crispy onions. Never had it before, quite simply amazing.

Apricot and Custard dessert. One DC described it in terms not at all fit for polite company but it was quite simply mindblowingly good.

We also had a caramelized nut dessert, a VERY generous portion which was nearly as mindblowing as the apricot custard.

Run don't walk. Other Indian restaurants in Boston pale by comparison.

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  1. I am no expert but this food was soooo good. I had never had haleem and it's remarkable ... a soft porridgey texture made of meat. Sounds weird, but is ultimate comfort food.

    The lentils were very homey and delicious. We also had shami kabobs which were unremarkable -- too soft in texture and falling apart. Maybe soft meats are their specialty?

    I'm not a desserty person but the apricot custard thing was an explosion in the mouth, that's for sure.

    The place was nearly empty though. It's out in the wilds of Waltham but it deserves much more business. Maybe we should do an open-call chow dinner? Hmmmm.....

    7 Replies
    1. re: yumyum

      They actually do meats really well. I have had various goat and chicken dishes there in the past that were excellent.

      1. re: yumyum

        BTW, which haleem did you guys get (beef, chicken, goat) ?

        Shami kebabs are generally soft as far as kebabs go, but sounds like these ones weren't even holding themselves together.

        Sounds like a heckuva meal. I need to get there stat. It also sounds like these folks might be Hyderabadi, which gives me even more incentive to get there.

        1. re: Nab

          The haleem was goat, and we missed you last night.

          1. re: Nab

            I'm familiar with the ShamWOW and these weren't good. The only clunker of the night, though.

          2. re: yumyum

            Maybe you are city folk and I'm a country bumpkin, but I would hardly call Main St. Waltham within a block of Moody St. " the wilds of Waltham" . It's pretty much at the intersection of Waltam's two busiest streets.

            Main St Cafe
            232 S Main St, Randolph, MA 02368

            1. re: LStaff

              I find it's hard to rally city mice to Somerville after dark, let alone Waltham.

              No offense intended ... I like Watch City a lot.

              1. re: LStaff

                I usually like to dine on Main Street after hiking the back bowls of Prospect Hill. :-b

            2. I really like this place as well, though I've heard from more than one person that the buffet can be hit-or-miss. I think my fave within Route 128 is still either Kebab Factory in Somerville or India Quality in Kenmore Square.

              India Quality Restaurant
              484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

              7 Replies
              1. re: hiddenboston

                The buffet is good to excellent, but they are MUCH stronger at dinner. I really feel that by definition buffets bring a meal down to the lowest common denominator.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Buffets provide a closer approximation to the style of Indian eating I prefer, namely that you can get a good mixture of flavours and styles in manageable quantities. In UK Indian restaurants, it is typical to order a mixture of small-serving side dishes either alone or alongside larger portions. Thus I can get my chicken dhansak, rice, bread and a sag aloo / dal samba / whatever and only feel slightly stuffed. I'm surprised that cheap, small-serving side dishes are not offered here. I haven't found an Indian restaurant that works on that model. Even the "Brick Lane" place in NYC, which seems to try to appeal to UK expats, doesn't do it! Sorry, but I don't want to pay $14 for a sag aloo or cauliflower bhaji [edit] and have three times as much of it as I wanted to eat.

                  Thus for me a buffet -- as long as it is good, varied, fresh and not covered in other people's drool -- is a positive. On that front Kebab Factory does score well -- Tamarind Bay's was awful when I had it. (Namaskar has been a good example of "so so" for me.)

                  If I make it to K&T I'd probably go for a buffet for precisely that reason. Still on my radar is the possibility of visiting the one in Billerica.

                  Tamarind Bay
                  75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  1. re: chickendhansak

                    I love variety myself and certainly understand the appeal. That said feel like there is always some compromising on taste/quality at a buffet.

                    Even better is to hit K&T with 8-10 hounds and get a feel for the whole menu, freshly prepared as opposed to sitting in a warming tray for who knows how long.

                    Seriously thinking of organizing an open call chow outing at K&T.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      The joy of good buffets is indeed, as chickendhansak says, the ability to get a great variety as a party of one or two. We are more adventurous eaters than many of our friends ( yeah, pick new friends, I know), and enjoy sampling many dishes.

                      The Pongal lunch buffet in Billerica is definitely worth the trip. You won't need much dinner.

                    2. re: chickendhansak

                      Bengal Cafe has some smaller plates. (I also like their weekend lunch buffet--nothing knock-your-socks-off but consistently tasty.)

                      1. re: chickendhansak

                        Yes, anyone who likes Indian food MUST go to the Pongal in Billerica! I vastly prefer it for lunch, since there are many great dishes to try, some of which are not on the dinner menu. Although I have not seen them recently, they have, for example, even had quail and tiny lamb chops on that lunch buffet.

                        1. re: chickendhansak

                          Where in can you get Dhansak I have looked most places to no avail
                          From the UK lived over here now for many years I make a great curry myself but would love to get a Dhansak


                    3. Yeah-Really like this place! I went last week(pretty empty) and tried the ?Machili Ka Salan--Fish with bone cooked w/ cumin, coriander powder and tamarind paste. This was nice and tasty, but the tiny bones were a bit problematic, for me at first. This dish was Hyderabadi style...

                      I enjoyed my order the time before better when I went veggie and had curried whole eggplants in peanut-sesame sauce and Potato cubes cooked w/ green chilies,garlic and tomato.

                      Agree-- the trick is to go with more adventurous people :)

                      1. i love the apricot and custard dessert (khubani ka metha). you should try the haleem at bengal cafe on mass ave in cambridge. i haven't been there in awhile but i thought it was better than the version at kabab and tandoor

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: galangatron

                          Hmmmm, there you go. I've only done the (so called) lunch buffet at Bengal Cafe and was a bit underwhelmed.

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            i've never had the buffet so i can't comment on it but bengal cafe's strength is in their homey bengali dishes. one of my favorites is aloo borta (mashed potatoes cooked with onion, cilantro, green chilies, and mustard oil). they also have a really strong drink called borhani (yogurt mixed with salt, mint, black pepper, and mustard) which can be a little challenging at first but eventually grows on you

                          2. re: galangatron

                            galangatron, do you know if this is a Bengali (five-spice) style haleem ?

                            1. re: galangatron

                              galangatron ... next time you should come along! How to reach you off the board?

                              And also good tip on Bengal cafe. Thx.

                            2. I've been going here for the buffet during the week for the last 5 years or so. Although I think the quality of the food on the buffet in general has dipped since I first started going, some days and some dishes still stand up or exceed those early experiences. The cauliflower with chilis and garlic that I had there a couple of months ago will live in its own little section of my brain for quite some time. Since moving to the new place and working out some kinks in the beginning, seems like the buffet is better stocked and most of the trays are hot - a nice step up from the last place.

                              I would love to check out the place for dinner, but after reading too many reviews about the haphazard service, and seeing the service given to those who order from the menu while I am there, I am hesitent to order off the menu.

                              I think its funny how many people walk in the place expecting tikka masala and all the usual fare found on most Indian buffets like soup, salad, papadom, chutneys, etc., then either walk out, or make silly comments expecting this place to be just like all the others.

                              Darn it, I was trying to hold off until Friday for my next visit, now I have spicy Indian food on my mind.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: LStaff

                                The place ain't about the service for sure. But the chow, the chow.