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tashan?

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anyone been yet? there's one review on yelp as of 9/10. would love to hear any early opinions. im thinking of going with family this weekend

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  1. I went there 2 days after it opened. It was chaos ( as expected ) with waiters that had absolutely no idea what they were serving. The chef is Haitian and cooking "up-scale" Indian food while consulting an Indian master chef who appears to be resident in the UK. The overall result is mediocre indian "fusion" cooking. If you liked Bindi ( closed ) you probably will like this place. I will give it another try in another two months.

    1 Reply
    1. re: heineken joe

      thanks for reporting back- sorry to hear about your experience, but glad we're not going there and headed to kanella instead.

      i didnt try bindi- im not a fan of indian food, not sure whether id prefer fusion but im happy staying away!

    2. I just went there this evening. The food was fabulous. Tandoori shrimp had an uncanny, tender texture, with a delicate flavor, potato cake was smooth but with plenty of bite, the Indian lamb sausage perfectly cooked and served on a bed of addictive combination of chick peas, cashews, cucumber and cilantro, and the lamb chops simply some of the best I've had. The Chocolate Souffle was the real thing, unlike many wannabe's in town, molten, gooey, serious chocolate oozing out, and not too sweet. The service was a bit stiff and overbearing, a few too many people asking how your food was, but very attentive. If you're into great food, with not too many preconceptions of what Indian food ought to be, run to Tashan.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jrodescu

        thank you for reporting back! glad to hear about your good experience

      2. I tried it last week. Overall I liked it but I'm not in a big hurry to go back, mainly because the service was not very good.

        The space is very nice, it's trying hard to be cool and it mostly is, though it's a little bit too dark and the music is a little bit too loud. I love the exposed, tiled tandoor ovens. The wine list comes on an iPad, which sounds like it could be a neat idea but the implementation here is not that good, the wines appear as a menu and you can tap their names to get more information on each, but the extra info is only a few lines that would have fit perfectly well on a written wine list. The cocktails are on the iPad too, that made a little more sense since you can actually see a picture of the drink. The main problem is that the restaurant is very dark and the iPad screen is very bright, looking at it is not pleasant and my eyes had to readjust to the light level in the restaurant afterwards. They said the plan is to set it up so that you can order your drinks right on the iPad but that isn't working yet. I think I saw a paper wine list floating around so you may want to try asking for one. Another table near us was having trouble navigating the iPad.

        The food ranged from excellent (the lamb chops and the malai kofta lollipops) to bad (the scallops and the breads), more good dishes than bad overall but still more misses than I would have liked at a place that costs this much (and has gotten such rave reviews lately).I didn't have anything that totally blew me away but I'd go back in a few months for some of the other dishes I wanted to try.

        The main problem is the service. They don't really seem to know much about the food, getting their attention is hard, and even then you may not get what you need. It took a good 10 minutes after being seated to even get the wine list, and another 10 minutes to actually get a drink. After our server took our dessert order, I didn't see him again till he dropped of our check (without our asking for it). Someone else brought my after-dinner coffee with no cream to put in it, it sat for 6-7 minutes as I tried unsuccessfully to make eye contact with our server until finally a third person brought our dessert. I asked him if I could get some cream for my coffee, he said "Yes", but it never came. I ended up drinking it cold and black. When the check was dropped off, there was "absolutely no rush" but the server must have meant that he was in no rush, it sat on the table a good 8-10 minutes after that.

        I hope they get the service worked out because reading some other reviews, it sounds like I'm not the only one who had this problem, and the food is interesting enough that I'd go back.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          thanks for the report- ill be going there sunday (xmas day, i know, but my familys moving so cooking a feast isnt an option). what did you not like about the scallops and breads? they look quite good to me- as does the baby octopus

          the service issues are kinda weird, im sorry your experience wasnt really a good one

          1. re: InSearchOfTacos

            The scallops were gritty and the sauce that accompanied them just wasn't very interesting. The breads were all kind of the same (we got the "Chef's Basket" with 3 different ones) and all limp and a little soggy, probably partly because they were all crammed into a tiny basket. In addition to the dishes I mentioned above, I'd recommend the baingan bharta. The gol-gappa and quail were good but I don't plan to order them again when I go back.

            1. re: Buckethead

              ok, good to know that the scallops should be avoided and that we should order the breads separately and not in one basket- the baingan bharta looks good, as does the Dal Makkhani. i'll report back- thanks for your feedback! the ipad menu is weird but i do all the ordering for the table anyways, so my family wont care.

              1. re: InSearchOfTacos

                It's just the wine and cocktail list that's on the iPad, the dinner menu is on paper.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  right, thats what i meant- while im at it- any must-have cocktails or other drinks that looked especially good?

                  1. re: InSearchOfTacos

                    We actually tried one cocktail, the Bloody Mohini, it wasn't to our taste (overly sweet, with much more carrot juice than tomato).

                    1. re: Buckethead

                      ok good to know- ill prob go for the dhoom since it received good reviews and i do love scotch :)

        2. i promised a review, and here it is:

          we went for an early dinner- was empty when we arrived at 6pm but was pretty full (as full as it can be on 12/26) when we left. there were 4 of us, so we ordered quite a lot.

          - Peshawari Naan- we started with this and enjoyed it very much. wasnt soggy at all and we got several more orders throughout the meal. this came with four pieces, all chewy and terrific. the naan is quite sweet as it's made with raisins, nuts and coconut. came with a mango chutney, cilantro coconut chutney and a dry "chutney" with peanuts. i tried the coconut cilantro- good but nothing extraordinary

          -Baby Octopus Nicobari - nicely cooked octopus with a lot of sauce- we had to order more naan to sop it all up

          - Gol-Gappa - we wanted the lollipops, but they were out, so we went with this instead. fine, but again, nothing particularly special. i couldnt taste much of anything from the mint-cilantro water, so i ate with a bit of the cilantro chutney presented with the naan. enjoyed this but wont order it again

          - Mangalorean Sausages - i didnt have much of this, but the bite i did try was tasty. the chaat underneath, not so much. if youre craving chaat in philly, go to the cafe in west philly. the chili paste this came with was also delicious- but i love spicy and will eat anything with a kick, regardless of whether it's any good

          - Wild Alaskan King Crab ‘Tak-a-Tak’- delicious, but who doesnt like crabmeat?? it was served with those little crisp dough wafers (papri?) which i found to be a bit odd and throw off the balance of the dish. i would have liked if the crunch was achieved in another way.

          - vegetable samosas- super crunchy but not greasy. only 2 to an order, but the samosas were huge so i was happy sharing. these were very good

          - vegetable biryani- prepared the traditional way- cooked in a small vessel that was sealed in dough so the steam would be trapped. i thought the rice was a bit mushy (maybe that's intended) but the veggies werent overcooked

          - Galouti Kebab- 3 in an order so i didnt have my own. tasted good, but id much rather my lamb be served in skewers or as a shank or chop. i found this preparation to be a bit mushy- for lack of a better word. also i couldnt detect any chutney, and it was garnished with edible silver leaf. not a fan of garnishes that dont add much

          - Baingan Bhartaa - wonderful and a generous portion. it's so easy to make eggplant oily, and it was not at all. well-prepared.

          desserts were less exciting. my sis got a valhrona chocolate cake, which was a bit overcooked and not too gooey inside. the chai ice cream was fine, but sounded a lot better than it tasted. the creme brulee w/ gulab jamun was also a bit odd- the gulab jamun was way too sweet (which it always is...and this is why i dont like it). the creme brulee itself was fine, but nothing amazing. overall id skip the desserts and get more naan.

          i found the ipad drink list weird- but they did select the beer and wine option well. i got the sula shiraz from india- very earthy and enjoyable. wasnt fruity, very interesting- i recommend you try it if you havent had any indian wines (i had not). the weyerbacher merry monks was also on the list.

          i want to go back- the food wasnt amazing, but it also didnt make me feel ill afterwards from being too rich and greasy (like most indian food)- so i think this place is a welcome addition to the philly dining scene. not all the dishes could have been "modernized" well, and the chef didnt even try with some (the biryani and samosas were as far from modern as you can get). not sure what all the glowing reviews are about. but i liked my meal very much. if i come again, ill get a few orders of naan, samosas and that eggplant and call it a day. the brunch menu sounds pretty awesome.

          sorry in advance if i offended any with my lack of love for indian food in general :) hope everyones having a happy and safe holiday season!

          4 Replies
          1. re: InSearchOfTacos

            Couldn't agree more. Don't understand the fuss.

            1. re: foodielove

              hmmm...interesting. i've got reservations for tomorrow night. any other "must haves" or must avoids"??? i will report my findings... :)

              1. re: jba1216

                We went a few weeks ago. Some things were very good - the tandoori shrimp was one of the most amazing shrimp dishes I have ever had - forget everything you think you know about tandoori being dry! The Naan is delicious, but you do have to eat it fast, which is not a problem, b.c it does get cold and soggy, so if you are going to get multiple baskets of it, order it throughout the meal, not all at once. The service was abrupt, at best. We had done our homework, at this site and elsewhere, but he wanted to give us his rap and tell us when, and what, to order. He also seemed annoyed when we told him that we had theatre tix, even though we had almost 2 hours before we had to leave.

            2. re: InSearchOfTacos

              Obviously Philly is not ready for upscale Indian food.

            3. So we went on Friday night....here's my summary:

              space/decor - hip, trendy, and dark. very cool deep booths for larger parties. definitely hit the mark for what they're trying to achieve.

              service - good, but nothing to write home about. the hosts were welcoming. we had a drink before dinner, and the bartender paid above average attention to detail (e.g. chilling a glass for us), but it was a bit hard to get his attention to settle up or order another drink. our server was friendly and chipper, but i wouldn't say she had great knowledge of the food. she had her rehearsed script, and did fine. when we asked for her opinions in trying to decide between a few dishes, she was annoyingly diplomatic. "everything is just fabulous...it really depends what you are in the mood for." but...that's just a pet peeve of mine!!

              food - overall, everything we had was very good.
              things i would order again are the kobe beef kabob (nicely spiced), the scallops, a spinach mushroom patty (forget the name), black bass (perfectly cooked), masala donuts.

              things that were good, but i wouldn't necessarily order again, were the gol-gappa, goat cheese naan (I just prefer plain naan, but it was pretty good), the mangolorean sausage.

              would not order again - the white sweet potato chaat (boring, though i did enjoy the tamarind sauce), an Indian red wine (tasted medicinal).

              overall, a very tasty meal. we enjoyed it a lot. HOWEVER...when we saw the bill, we knew we'd never be back. it ended up being about $200 for 2 of us (that's with 2 drinks each, tax, and tip), and we ordered less food (1-2 dishes less) than they suggested. it was definitely not worth the money...

              1. After reading many good things about Tashan in both the Inky and Philly Mag my wife and I went last weekend for our anniversary. Everything about this meal was a disappointment. Everything.
                It was a busy night so we had a reservation. Have you seen the picture of Tashan in the Philly mag review? Well, we were seated on the very left-hand side of that photo with my wife wedged between the leftmost swinging door and the next door over. The roar was deafening. It is very noisy here. And the tables are packed one upon another. Disappointment. Like anyone these days we had looked at the menu on the internet before going and we had each made a pick. For me the venison and my wife wanted the lobster. Looking at the menus we noticed that neither was listed. Disappointment. What’s on the web should be on the menu. When the hostess came to recite the specials I said that we noticed the venison and lobster items were not on the menu to which she replied “Oh, we just took them off the menu yesterday.” (To quote Meatloaf - I bet she says that to all the boys.) She did the specials, went over the menu and explained how the items would come out in sequence, one after another. Her personal recommendation was the Tandoor Chaamp, Frenched lamb chops. My wife and I momentarily discussed leaving, but I had been wanting to try Tashan for a long time so we decided to stay. So we ordered. First the Chicken Patanga, next the Lamb chops, Tandoor Chaamp, third the Dal Makkhani with the GOC Naan and last the Chicken Biryani.
                First item, the Chicken Patanga, which the menu describes as Supremes roulade, nuts and onion-raisin stuffing, pomegranate Makhni sauce. What we got: six chunks of chicken which looked just like the kebab my wife had had at lunch at Leyla. I know what a roulade is. In this case Roulade, missing; stuffing, missing. Not at all as described on the menu. Disappointment.
                Next, up the hostess’s recommendation: the Lamb Chops. Forget that part about how they bring one item after another in a sequence. I’d barely had time to eat one-and-a-half chicken chunks when the lamb chops came out. Now, I know you have all eaten a lamb chop, so when I say these had the texture of liver you’ll know how un-lamb choppy these were. Texture: Mush. Not good at all. Disappointment.
                There was a bit of a wait between our second and third dishes. That was mainly because the Dal and Naan we were supposed to get were delivered to the table next to us. We suspected it was ours, but not knowing what the table next to us had ordered we had no way to be sure, and when they tucked into the dal and Naan we figured, “Oh well, it’s the kitchen’s problem now.” Service - Disappointment. Then a waiter shows up at our table and tried to deliver someone else’s Paneer pizza to us. We, at least, told him it wasn’t ours. The hostess finally figured out the dal/Naan screw up and told us it would be just a few minutes. We had barely torn the Naan and scooped up some dal when the Biryani was delivered. Disappointment. We’ve had biryani many times before; my wife even makes it at home. This was rather dry, as if it had been sitting, which would not surprise me as the kitchen was likely trying to serve the dal and Naan at least two minutes before the biryani. Disappointment, Disappointment, Disappointment. One after the other.
                So, summary: Noise – very bad. Service – really very poor. Food – You can’t order what’s on the web and even once you do order it may end up at someone else’s table. I can recommend a few good Indian restaurants in the greater Princeton area where I live, but I can’t recommend Tashan. Philly mag bemoaned the fact that Tashan might soon close because Philly may not yet be sophisticated enough yet for fine Indian food. I’ve got to ask “Where is the fine Indian food?” Overall, one tremendous disappointment. If Tashan dose close, I’ll not shed a tear.

                8 Replies
                1. re: jerseybill52

                  Maybe the chicken chunk dish isn't the roulade you ordered, they may have brought the wrong dish.

                  1. re: barryg

                    I know what I orderd. And I've been eating Indian food for years. Both at home and out to dinner. That is why I wanted to try Tashan. Billed as "not strip mall Indian." It wasn't what was described on the menu.

                    If I order steak and you bring me fish whose fault is that? Just like giving my dal and Naan to the wrong table and the Paneer pizza they tried to give to us. Rotten service.

                    1. re: jerseybill52

                      I mean, maybe the chicken chunk dish they brought out wasn't the roulade at all. Given the other service issues, they may have delivered the wrong dish.

                  2. re: jerseybill52

                    Would love to hear your recommendation for good Indiean in the greater Princeton area (we live in Yardley).

                    1. re: gsElsbeth

                      OK. Depends on your likes in Indian. Mostly south Indian, On Route 1 in Lawrenceville (just next to Olive Garden more or less) is Harini. http://www.harinirestaurant.com/
                      It's just a little strip mall spot but the food is good and cheap. Only place I know of where you can get Dosa. Best Dosa around, we like the Chili and Onion Masal Dosa. The Onion Kulcha bread here is good - but it can be hit or miss, Sometimes too thick, othertimes just right. And the dal is good.

                      In Princeton is Cross Cultures. Not in downtown - it's in the P-ton burbs.Best Dal in the area!!! SPICY!! They have an item I like - Kachumber. Sort of a pickled onion, chili and tomato item.
                      http://www.crossculturerestaurant.com/
                      My wife likes the lunch special - we go often in the summer since she is a teacher - as it has a variety of small apps and meats. You will see if you look at ther web site. But all year long this is a stand out Indian. Summer is nice since you can sit outside on the mall and eat
                      al fresco.

                      Also good food - but of mixed qaulity service - is Mehek in Princeton proper. Have not been here for a while as I was really, really unhappy with the service last time. Its been over a year since my last visit. Harini and Cross Culture have consistent service. This was good food, likely still is good food. I know this was the place my wife liked best for Chicken Tikka.
                      http://www.mehekprinceton.com/

                      These three are BYOB.

                      Avoid: Palace of Asia - over glitzy and over priced and Shahi Palace - both in Lawrenceville

                      1. re: jerseybill52

                        Thanks for the quick response. We will definitely try harini. Haven't tried cross culture, another opportunity! Mehek we have tried. It was recommended by an Indian student and although it was good, not overwhelming. Indian garden in yardley is our local place, but we've gone so often that we're looking for a change. Bombay cafe in Bristol has been a very pleasant surprise, and I would recommend it if it isn't too far off the beaten track for you.

                        1. re: gsElsbeth

                          Thanks for the tip on Indian Garden. My wife and I used to go to a place in this strip mall years ago I think. It was called Portobello. Don't get down to Bristol very much.

                          Harini is not very impressive physically. It is frequented by many Indians. Don’t be surprised to see people eating with their hands and not a fork.

                          1. re: jerseybill52

                            I'm straiining to remember, but I think Portobello's was the same venue. Indian Garden started in Langhorne, in a huge space next to an old Shop n bag. They couldn't continue there because of the size. The Yardley space works well for them. We never go on Friday or Saturday any more because of the long wait (but are delighted for them). Really nice people running it.

                  3. 2nd visit last night.

                    On the first visit, I hated our table, in the bar room. At the end of the meal, the hostess asked how our meal was and I said I liked the food, but it was way too noisy. She told me the best seats were near the open kitchen. So, this time I specified I wanted a table by the open kitchen. This is a more interesting and quieter place to sit. You can see everything that is going on in the kitchen and the dining room. Kudos for the staff honoring our request.

                    But, twice is quite enough. Love the party energy on a Saturday night, but actually none of the food wowed. A repeat from last time was the Mangalore sausage, followed by the Kobe skewers and then the diver scallops. All good and nicely seasoned and prepared, but nothing that I would crave. The last course was desultory - the wild mushroom biryani with vegetables. Dull, especially since there were no wild mushrooms or any other type of mushrooms in the dish. Of course, until you're 2/3 into the dish, how can you tell if a pile of rice will in fact have the one interesting thing about the dish. We did tell the waiter and he gave us the espresso we ordered on the house. I suspect we would have gotten desert too had we ordered it, but nothing appealed to us. It sounds like they are scalling back since they had no ice cream choices even though ice cream is listed on the menu. Odd not to have any ice cream on a Saturday night. Also, the waiter warned that not all the wines listed by the glass were available. Perhaps the rumors that Tashan is not doing well are true? Hard to tell on a Saturday night.