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Tandoor, 30 years on

b
bishopsbitter Jul 12, 2011 12:11 PM

When I first came to the twin cities (indeed the US) in 1982 I missed the English staple of Indian food. At that time I think Tandoor (then located on Hennepin) was "it" in terms of Twin cities Indians. It was subtly different from UK style of Indian (which in itself is totally foreign to the real stuff) but it was a heck of a lot better than nothing.

What's remarkable is that I just had lunch at its lingering incarnation in Bloomington and confirmed with the owner (who yes, looked vaguely familiar albeit us both much more aged of course) that indeed it s one and the same enterprise. Even his wife (I realized later) I think was there & I also recall as a young woman.

Tandoor 2011 was doing spiffy lunchtime business suggesting the franchise is anything but exhausted. Now I will say the buffet was a notch below the restaurant I reviewed a few weeks ago (I remember places by where they are, not what they are called so I would have to look it up) it's the one just off Lake St.

Gandhi Mahal
3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

Not so good as GM is Tandoor buffet-wise but I noticed several people ordering from the menu so perhaps they know this and the menu is a better option. Not as good in terms of the brightness of flavors, a notch lower. The variety and replenishment status a bit meager too.

I will also indulge a general moan that I've meant to air for months in some post or another: the habit of using cutlery which (regardless of Uri Geller skills) bends in normal usage and is so thinly pressed out of junk metal as to be highly unpleasant to wield during a meal. Frankly I would 1000% prefer plastic silverware to those things. Is theft of cutlery so pervasive as to make it not cost-effective to provide something "a bit better"? I mention in case owners think people just don't notice this. for me, it spoils a meal those pressed metal knives and forks with the cut-into-your-flesh handles.

Really nice to feel a part of a 30-year-old enterprise. In the early days I introduced several Minnesotans to their very first (but not last!) Indian meal at the original location.

I'd like to say my 3 stars is "buffet only" for all I know they save the good goods for the evening when the menu is king.

Food wise: pakora, a bit chewy. Tandoor chicken very very bony. Naan had run out but I got a doggie end and it wasn't great (not puffy style). Again, clearly the food attracts a large lunch crowd (office people nearby I think) and is certainly not terrible and with everlasting gratitude they were there in 1982 which made acclimatization a bit easier. A friend of mine swears by their vegetarian and that indeed (the comment about the very sparse meat) may be their passion & strength.

bb

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Tandoor Restaurant
8062 Morgan Cir S, Minneapolis, MN 55431

Gandhi Mahal
3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

  1. i
    isfahani Jul 14, 2011 10:31 AM

    For me, Tandoor is one of a few Indian places left that have been coasting on their rep built up in the past. Lingering incarnation, indeed. The last meal I had there was indifferent at best, as was the service!

    IMO judging any restaurant by the door count on the buffet is not the best measure. Fortunately for every 10 of the coasters or outright failures still in business, there is a Gandhi Mahal...

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    Tandoor Restaurant
    8062 Morgan Cir S, Minneapolis, MN 55431

    Gandhi Mahal
    3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

    2 Replies
    1. re: isfahani
      b
      bishopsbitter Jul 14, 2011 11:01 AM

      It could be. Or similar nostalgic connections:---as (as I now think of it) the clientele was distinctly "older."

      They do pour a very good cold (glass) of Taj Mahal. A beer I often think is well worth drinking at other times than with curry, but one never thinks of it.

      Thanks for the additional insights. Perhaps they are also just in the right place. And having a cookie-cutter Chinese place right next door probably gets people in the door too, albeit 50% of the time.

      In the vicinity I also saw (for whatever my out-of-town observation is worth) a totally new (yet old) sight: an apartment building with what we call in England "allotments" (similarly, small garden plots for people without gardens at their home). Interesting and a first for me. and as in England they tend to be an eyesore, but passionately loved by those who garden there all the same.

      1. re: isfahani
        g
        galewskj Jul 14, 2011 12:33 PM

        I agree with both of your assessments. I go to Tandoor maybe once a year simply because it is in the area I live. I would not go out of my way for it. I remember being unimpressed with the buffet, but it was over a year ago. I've never been wowwed by anything on their menu, but have had some dishes that "hit the spot" so to speak.

        As for indifferent service, isn't that always the case in Indian restaurants? Have you ever gotten good friendly service in an Indian restaurant?

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        Tandoor Restaurant
        8062 Morgan Cir S, Minneapolis, MN 55431

      2. splatgirl Jul 14, 2011 01:25 PM

        +1 on the silverware gripe. It drives me absolutely insane. And as an added bonus to the flesh-cutting edges, the forks usually have wonky tines. I swear places like that buy silverware second hand from the local high school. That's what it reminds me of anyway.

        Thanks for the bit of nostalgia re: Tandoor.

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        Tandoor Restaurant
        8062 Morgan Cir S, Minneapolis, MN 55431

        1 Reply
        1. re: splatgirl
          b
          bishopsbitter Jul 15, 2011 11:10 AM

          Amen. Kudos. Gracias. Danke. Thank you for the affirmation . . . . to ininity. Sometimes I feel like it's just me being overly "demanding" of the contemporary world where most don't seem the least bit bothered by such things as horrible service or wonky tines. Good to know one is "not alone.".

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