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Mar 30, 2010 02:46 PM

Birmingham - Sitar now open (Indian)

Per this thread,

and this article,

Sitar is now open. Any dish suggestions from the Hounds?

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  1. Went there for lunch last week with my Bengali friend. The restaurant was JAMMED. If that lunch business keeps up, I guess I needn't have worried about them surviving nights and weekends. It was very good, but not spectacular, but it wouldn't be fair to judge the place by the lunch buffet. I had a peas (matar), curry, and cheese (paneer) concoction that required a second trip. The chicken tikka masala was very good, though the sauce was a thinner and less rich version than the one at Taj India. I find that Silver Coin also makes the sauce in this dish lighter and less richly creamy than Taj does. While the SC and Sitar versions are probably healthier, I have to say my American palate likes the Taj version best. The same is true for the (richer) version of buttery spinachy saag paneer or chicken sagwala at Taj compared to elsewhere. The naan on the Sitar lunch buffet was rubbery from sitting too long. That's a function of the buffet layout. But it paled in comparison to Silver Coin's heavenly naan varieties. The latter are one of the main reasons I love Silver Coin so much. There was excellent Tandoori chicken on the buffet that must have been "moving fast", as it was hot, juicy, wonderfully spicy, and not dried out by a prolonged sit under the heat lamps.

    Gonna make a trip back to Sitar in the evening for a cooked to order meal off of the regular menu. I'll report back.

    1. I went for the lunch buffet, too. ($6.99 for UAB students!) I tried a little bit of everything...not sure what it was all called, but I tried the chickpeas, creamy curried vegetables, chicken tikka masala, tandoori chicken, another saucy vegetable mix, naan, garlic naan, and a fried bread. I wasn't big on the creamy curried vegetables (it wasn't bad, just not great), but I liked everything else. For the price, and the distance of only a few blocks from lab--I'll definitely be back.

      1. As a researcher at UAB, the location of Sitar couldn't be better. It's about time we had an alternative to Taj India downtown.
        I visited during the lunch buffet, right at 11 when they open, hoping to get the freshest fare. There wasn't a dish I didn't like.
        The chicken curry and chicken masala were both very tender and succulent. The grilled chicken was not dry, and the seasoning was flavorful without being overpowering. The veggie rice and curry veggies were also excellent.
        The naan was soft, not rigid like the bread at Silver Coin. Personally, I prefer this. I dipped it in the raita (similar to Greek taziki), the mint sauce, and the tamarind sauce (sweet). My favorite was the mint. The sweet onion relish was also top-notch. The only item I didn't care for was the hot pickle achar (a relish). The salt/vinegar was a bit overwhelming for me, although this isn't to say it isn't good. It just didn't suit my pallet.
        I finished with some rice pudding and a few fresh sliced oranges. The pudding was flavorful, if not a bit runny. The honey taste was pleasing.
        Service was excellent. I could only take one sip before someone would refill my glass, and plates were bussed very quickly. All in all, a great lunch at a very affordable price ($7.99 or $6.99 for UAB students). I am sure to return again! Thanks, Sitar, for some great eats!

        Taj India
        2226 Highland Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205

        5 Replies
        1. re: wecancallmeb

          Anybody else been here lately? Can you order off the menu as well as eat the buffet at lunch? And how's the parking? We're considering going with a group next week

          1. re: Big Daddy

            It's Southside so the parking sucks. I went last week and it was jam packed and kind of a snafu. The buffet offers lots of options and the condiment bar is larger than at some other places. My naan was fine, but turnover was super fast. We actually had to wait a bit for a table and the table service is hectic. As far as the food, I thought it was good (and agree that the tandori chicken rocked and was nice and juicy) but would like to try the real menu some time.

            1. re: Dax

              Went for lunch today around 1:15 and had the exact opposite experience as other times. I should have just turned around when I noticed few patrons inside as I was going for the buffet. Low turnover = bad experience. limp naan, dried out tandori chicken and rice, crusted spinach, etc. I'll still go back, but need to try dinner rather than just the buffet.

              1. re: Dax

                In my limited experience, it's much better to arrive for the lunch buffet as early as possible. The naan is delicious when it's fresh and put out continually. Any time I've gone past 12:30 it's only been so-s0.

                1. re: sheilal

                  Yeah I went again two weeks ago around 11:45 and the buffet was awesome. Maybe I can try dinner there soon but the buffet, when it's on, is a great option for the area and a good chance to try some different dishes (the lamb curry was very good at the last buffet attempt).

        2. We did takeout last night. Yum. Got what we usually get from Taj for comparison. The bengan bartha (which we got mild and was a little too mild) was excellent, a bit more tomato-y and with more warm spices. The sag paneer was delicious; we got medium and it had just a little bite and plenty of cheese cubes. All in all, I'd say the flavors were more subtle than Taj, which lately has tended to be so spicy on those two dishes that you can't taste much. I also thought the naan was excellent. Bonus: order came with pappadums, mint sauce and chutney. Drawback: came with plain rice rather than pilaf.

          1. I tried Sitar today for lunch. I agree with what's been said so far: the food was quite fresh as turnover was quick, the naan was hot (albeit a little on the soft side), and the tandoori chicken, which I usually find to be bland, was hot and juicy with a crispy exterior. The pankora could be crispier and the mint chutney spicier, but I'm really just nitpicking. I'm excited to have Sitar in Southside. I think it will become a frequent lunch spot for me. I'm excited to order off of the menu at night. Someone post back if you beat me to it and let us know how it is.

            2 Replies
              1. re: hlsess

                Corner of University and 20th, where Tracy's cafeteria used to be. (729 20th St. for your GPS)