New India Cuisine
Went with my friend - I got the Angus mint burger, one of their 'signatures', and Desi fries. A substantial (3/4 pound?), juicy, well-seasoned, and very flavorful hamburger, with lettuce, onion, tomatoes, sprouts, and a light mint/avocado sauce, between a pair of wheat buns that could actually hold up to all that - very good. The Desi fries were served piping-hot, dusted with cayenne and, I believe, curry powder. Forget aioli and malt vinegar - I'll be asking for curry powder with my fries from now on. Total=$5.50.
My friend got the Vegetarian Thali plate. About a dozen different items, served on a large tray, with buttered Vegan (yes) nan (you can also choose chapatti, or puri). Certainly looked very appealing and appetizing, and friend said it was great, though I didn't have any. $9.
Many items on the menu look interesting (for instance, kokam fish curry), and I'll be back. This is simple, tasty food, that is made with fresh, quality ingredients, and with care. There are a lot of vegan and gluten-free options, 'fusion-ey' (a better word may be 'updated') Indian and Indian-inspired dishes, that provide a nice, inexpensive alternative to your hum-drum Claypit and farrago of Indian buffets. All in a clean, simple atmosphere. Reminds me somewhat of the late Nu Age Cafe, actually.
The only critique I have is the serving situation. You order and pay first at the counter, get and re-fill your own drinks, and find your own table (cafeteria-style). But the cashier brings your utensils, food, and clears your plates, and asks a few times, how everything was. We weren't sure if we were actually being 'served' or not. I would be fine with getting my own food from the window, and bussing my own plates. It could be that the cashier was just extra friendly.
Amid a town overrun with hipster kitsch and wanna-be-like-New-York-but-ends-up-more-like-Dallas joints, I hope this new place gets the chance it deserves.
nb: It's in the shopping center at the SE corner of South Cong. & Oltorf - NOT on S. Second St, if you're looking on Google maps.
This is an updated review of New India Cuisine at its new location (2304 South Congress Ave at Oltorf, where Richard Jones BBQ used to be), with its updated menu.
First good sign: when my partner and I walked in for lunch this past weekend, there were not one, not two, but three gay couples seated in a row along the wall booths. (In the immortal words of the Kim Cattrall, 'first come the gays...')
Alas, no more Hindu beef burger (as mentioned in the review above), as they replaced the flat top grill with a tandoori oven.
Still a no-frills, clean and calm atmosphere, but now with service. Our server was nice, efficient and obviously knowledgeable, and educated us about the difference between a korma and a durbari.
I ordered the Kheema Masala ($10)--spiced ground lamb with onion, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, potatoes, and sliced egg. My partner had the Shahi Durbari (with paneer; $10), an almond-cashew creamy pureed curry, analogous to a cream-based korma. You can also specify the heat level (I ordered mine extra spicy).
How should I put this? I've rarely had Indian food this FLAVORFUL and FRESH. More often that not, Indian food is either overly salted or way under-salted, to the point where either all you taste is a salty muddledness, or there isn't simply enough salt to bring out all the flavors of the spices. The lamb here was seasoned just right. I could actually FEEL the different flavors, distinct and clean, hit and pop in my mouth at different times, followed by the heat. (I hate it when, esp in Indian food, all the heat is up front and annihilates your palate immediately.) The difference here was they used both fresh ground spices (eg cardamom) AND whole spices together, so that you get the WHOLE flavor (and texture) profile of the spices. The meat itself was fluffy and not too greasy, and the scalloped Yukon gold potatoes were nicely caramelized on the outside, with a crunch.
I had only the curry itself (not the paneer) in my partner's dish. Again, the same complexity of spices, and the cream wasn't too overwhelming (ahem - Claypit) and controlled the heat very well. You can taste it's ingredients selected, and food made with, love and care.
My only complaint is the portion-to-price ratio, but that may only be because I wanted and could've had a second plate of the lamb, without a problem. Both entrees came with a large bowl of cardamom/cloved basmati rice. And, they should serve tepid water by default, instead of ice-cold water.
I'll definitely be back, especially to try the Kokum Curry drink.
Also, they give a discount for walk-in or bike-in customers. Just mention you saw the discount on their website when you ask for the check.
this is the best Indian restaurant I've been to in the Austin area, judging by what ex-housemates from India have served me--the food is highly spiced--that's the main difference--I've been there 3 times, and never had anything that was overly salty (or heard that from friends) so that too salty dish must be unusual--I am very sensitive to overly salty foods, having radically decreased the amount of salt I eat due to hypertension...
Got some takeout last night at a colleague's recommendation -- very very nice people behind the counter, but food was extremely disappointing. In a word, SALTY. My wife, who is an Indian national, pretty much threw away her Konkani Egg Curry because it was so salty. (She's pregnant and her palate is very sensitive right now, but I tried it and she was right.) My Chana Saag was better, but still too salty. Thali platter was, again, better (potato in particular was good), but the green beans were, again, way too salty. The nan was lousy -- flat and chewy, like hard tack. The garlic nan was worse, still -- I'm not 100% sure, but it sure tasted as if they used garlic from a jar, which is inexcusable, given how cheap and easy (and good!) to use fresh garlic is. I'll probably give one more chance, in case this was an off night, but am hardly encouraged.
I'll second Bombay Express; my wife and I like their dosas. I don't think they get a whole lot of non-Indians, though - when my wife (black) and I (euromutt) went in for the first time, we were taking a bit to decide on what we'd have, and were warned in a concerned tone that most of the dishes were quite spicy. I resisted responding along the lines of "well, I certainly hope so," and instead went with a less sarcastic "glad to hear it."