Well, despite my heartfelt jab at this restaurant being out in the wilds of the northern Texas/Southern Oklahoma nether regions of the Metroplex, I ate there last Saturday. Turns out the Angelika theater out there had the latest showing of The King's Speech around and we were running late, so why not kill two birds with one stone, despite the 45 mile round trip drive.
The meal left me with very mixed impressions, to be quite honest. I really wanted to like the place, but I found it quite uneven.
The restaurant was very loud, despite the fact that it was only half full. This is partially because it has concrete floors and no acoustic dampening materials. But the single biggest contributor to the unpleasant sound was the disco next door. Thumping and booming bass permeated the restaurant (not to mention the velvet rope line of "$5,000 millionaires" you had to wade through to get into the restaurant.
As can obviously be the case with a new restaurant, the service was a bit ragged. Our waitress had no grasp of the wine list and seemed to have little grasp of the menu. There were two rieslings on the wine list, a Chateau St. Michelle and a Jekel Monterey Riesling. I was somewhat familiar with the former and asked about the latter. She said she would check to see if they had both. Sort of a non-sequitur. She returned and said that they had both. I again inquired about the Jekel, asking specifically about it's dryness. She said she had no idea of any kind about either wine. Not very inspiring. I ordered the Jekel just so I could say I'd had it since I had already tried the CSM. Turns out the Jekel is slightly off dry -- a fact noted on the back label -- and in my opinion, not quite as good a match for spicy food as the CSM.
We ordered two appetizers. The Paneer Potato & Peas Croquetes were quite good. Crispy. Not much chutney, but nicely presented. The Goan Shrimp Sofrito had a lovely level of spiciness, although the chopped cucumber and tomato on the side didn't really add much. I think it could be improved if the sides were somehow more united rather than just being chopped with no seasoning. But the only dish all night, rather disappointingly, with any degree of heat.
Main courses were much more disappointing. My girlfriend got the Saffron Cardamom grilled Chicken with tandoori sauce, which was bland, but good enough for what it was. Not being able to hear what my girlfriend ordered, I ordered onion seed tandoori prawns with tandoori sauce. Had I been able to hear, I wouldn't have ordered something with the same sauce. (Indeed, I queried our waitress before ordering about what the tandoori sauce was. Her first response was "it's kind of thick like a gravy". I asked if it was more like a masala, a vindaloo, raita, etc.? She said she didn't know. I asked what's in it. She said she didn't know and went to the kitchen to ask. Came back and said it had fenugreek in it. Again, not too informative. For the record, it's a very mild masala type sauce.) But when the shrimp arrived, the were without sauce. Best I could figure, either they has been lightly marinated in the tandoori sauce or they just forgot to add it to the plate. But in any event, they were fairly bland with or without the sauce from my girlfriend's chicken.
For dessert, we tried both the Coconut & Pistachio Rice Pudding and the Cardamom Panacotta. While both sounds amazing -- I love rice pudding and Cardamon -- neither was very impressive.
One other small service complaint. When dessert arrived, we explained to the waitress that we had a movie across the street in fifteen minutes and asked her to either bring the check then, or in about five minutes or so, her choice, so we could make our movie on time. Two or three minutes till movie time and still no waitress or check. We eventually flagged down a waiter from another table who found the waitress and the check.
Also a note on the wine list. I know wine isn't a first priority for a Indian restaurant, but an Indian fusion place should pay careful attention to it's list. And I found this list disappointing in the extreme. It looked to be put together by their liqour distributor. Mark ups weren't bad, but the wines were niether very well selected nor did they seem particularly well suited to Indian food. Only two reislings, niether with much residual sweetness. Where's a nice German Spatlese or Auslese or two? Lots of generic, bland merlot. Sure, some folks like them, but let's just stick to one or two. The highest priced bottle on the list was $40 -- no problem with that. But a Louis Jadot generic Chardonnay? They can do better than that.
On the positive side, the kitchen can clearly cook, even if some dishes were a bit bland. Maybe we just happened to order the most bland things on the menu. And the uneven service could have been either our waitress or just teething pains. I have no idea what they are going to do about the disco noise. Oh, and parking was a nightmare. Took twenty minutes to find a place to park.
But looking back over the review, it sounds more negative than I had hoped. If this were in our neighborhood, we'd give it a second chance after a couple of weeks and be rooting for the place to get better. But unless the dining scene in Plano is a whole lot less competitive than it is here in uptown, they're going to have to step up their game considerably to make it.
re: Mike C. Miller
The disco next door is Sambuca, an infamous "cougar den" and one of the most popular places in Plano. It's not going anywhere. I think you made a mistake to try this place out on Saturday night tbh, there's no way I'd do such. I hope to try it sometime next week. And the "dining scene" such as it is, doesn't even compare to uptown which is not exactly Alice Watersville. Thanks for the thorough review. At least I know to avoid the tandoori sauce.
15207 Addison Rd, Addison, TX 75001
re: Mike C. Miller
Ok...stopped by their for lunch on Saturday afternoon. Had the Lamb Masala.
Good, not outstanding, sauce was not nearly as spicy and flavorful as I would have liked. The Basmati was ok, again not great. Lamb was a bit dry.
From an Indian food standpoint many better, less expensive options abound in North Dallas area.
Lunch menu is very basic. Dinner menu looks much more interesting, am definitely gooing to give that a try one night.