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Lucky South Austinites: Asiana

slowcoooked Mar 29, 2012 11:17 AM

Hit up the Asiana Indian food joint on the west corner of Ben White and 35 today for the lunch buffet and must say I loved it and it just might be my new favorite if the second visit turns out as wonderful as the first. It was a big surprise treat. I found out from over on Yelp that the owner is a former owner of Chola's, one of my favorites in the area but it's far for a work lunch. Inside Asiana is clean and simple with seating for I'd guess 60. The fare is mostly south Indian but they serve a flavorful and more peppery than average Chicken Tikka Makhani. The Naan was excellent and tender with just the right amount of burnt edge. The chutneys (cilantro, coconut, a red hot one, and lemon pickle, and the Raita, were all excellent. The pakoras were light and good and ungreasy. The chicken curry was brown, rich with ginger and chilli and thin like soup with chunks of chicken breast. That was my favorite. The sambar was lovely. They'll give you dosas if you ask, for free apparently. The saag paneer is like Chola's to a tee, and is the best version I've had in the USA. They had a great green bean dish with onions and these small tan seeds or nuts or legumes of some type that added a lovely crunch - Sarovar does a version of that dish too. It was fantastic, but less spicy and significantly less oily than sarovar's. The desserts were a standard but delish rice / vermicelli pudding (more like a soup) and a very good gulab jamun. The tandoori chicken was comparable to other places in town. MENU: http://www.asianaindiancuisine.com/me...

Two months into business they're putting out great food. Much less greasy on average than Sarovar and Chola's. None of their dishes felt heavy and none had floating oil in the pan. And after eating a pretty solid two full plates of food, I feel like working instead of sleeping. bonus. On the weekends they have several additional dishes e.g. Chicken Chettinad that I'm really excited to try.

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  1. c
    chauvina Mar 29, 2012 03:04 PM

    Went there two wknds ago for buffet. Soooo impressed. My favorite is still
    Bombay Express (all vegetarian) up on Parmer and Lamar. But...we live south and this place knocked it out of the park. Like the prior poster mentioned, not too greasy-although I ate too much Cauliflower 65. Different than the standard buffet. We will be back!

    1. n
      nytexan Mar 29, 2012 09:25 PM

      glad to hear as i live in rr and remember the old owner of chola.

      1. c
        chrisdds98 Apr 2, 2012 07:48 PM

        went to dinner here earlier tonight and was impressed with the food. the dosa was great, the lamb was tender, and every dish we had was a winner. sadly, only two other patrons were present while we ate. hope the place starts getting more popular.

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          ArkieInAustin Apr 2, 2012 07:55 PM

          Run, don't walk to Asiana if you like south Indian specialties. The mysore masala dosa, sambar and chutney were as good or better than I ever had in south India (!) or in LIttle India on Lex Ave in New York City. If you've never had a DOSA, you should try it - crispy rice/lentil crepe stuffed with spicy potatoes w herbs and nuts. Also other stuffings, but that's the classic. The sambar and chutneys were generous too, not always the case. They offer small dosai on the lunch buffet as well. The staff are all Tamil, and really nice and attentive - like an experience of India in Austin. My other Indian food experiences here have been run of the mill - this was exceptional. Check it out 'cause "sappadoo nalla irrukuh" - the food is really good!

          But watch out - they are closing on Mondays as of April 9.

          1. slowcoooked Apr 3, 2012 07:27 AM

            Yeah, it's not been packed in my three visits yet. But I am committed to eating Asiana at least once a week. We've got to do our part to keep this kind of authenticity alive or suffer the clay pit type of consequences.

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              addlepated Apr 3, 2012 11:02 PM

              HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL this place is amazing. Go go go! The Chicken Tikka Masala platter was one of the best bites I've had in the last year, without a doubt (it includes this incredible buttery saag paneer and a side of sauteed veggies). Anxious to try out the lunch buffet so I can sample other goodies. We fed four people, with two big appetizers (one sampler and one masala dosa) for about $50 before tip.

              1. j
                jscro626 Apr 26, 2012 12:16 PM

                It's true, this place is that good. I read this review and thought, no way is something in our neighborhood this good and not Mexican. We even went back 3 days later just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. This is some of the best Indian Food I've had, the sauces and curries are amazing. I hate using the word amazing, because it's usually BS. This is not BS.

                Go. Go now.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jscro626
                  a
                  ArkieInAustin Apr 26, 2012 12:53 PM

                  It's very consistent - I've been back three times, brought friends and family. The buffet is also exCEPtional - again, lighter, southie food, with a little rich wedding food for those that need it. FYI: If you need similar food in the north, Swad ("delicious") offers dosas, etc, too, but not near so good as Asiana.

                  1. re: ArkieInAustin
                    slowcoooked Apr 26, 2012 02:24 PM

                    Anyone else been lucky enough to have the Chicken Chettinad? Rich, brown curry laden with fennel seeds, poppy seeds, curry leaves, cumin, heat, coconut, tomato - the list is long and the result deeply flavorful. This might be, no is, the best chicken curry I've ever tasted. As ArkieInAustin mentioned, these guys are Tamil and this is a dish from Tamilnadu in the south. I had not had it anywhere else in all my travels. What a treat !!

                  2. re: jscro626
                    a
                    addlepated Apr 26, 2012 01:53 PM

                    Yes, we were there again last night and it was just as excellent. I really want this place to make it. Looks like they're applying for a liquor license, or maybe just beer and wine.

                  3. slowcoooked Aug 25, 2012 09:03 AM

                    Golden Fried iddly triangles were out yesterday on the buffet lunch along with chicken nelgiri (sp?) - both were spectacular new additions (to me at least). This continues to be the best indian food going by far in this area. I was also pleased to see the place packed, and with mostly Indian folks in large parties. Word's out and thank goodness. We can't lose this gem. I urge hounds that haven't given this place a shot to run down there. Closed mondays.

                    1. a
                      akachochin Aug 25, 2012 03:07 PM

                      I notice that their website map says "William Cannon" and your post says Ben White. I presume that they are correct? Or have they recently moved and the website not kept up?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: akachochin
                        c
                        chrisdds98 Aug 25, 2012 05:19 PM

                        good catch, it is william cannon. took the in-laws there today and they seemed to enjoy. i was disappointed that there was no lamb on the buffet... i tried their bullet naan which is not blazingly hot immediately, the heat sorta builds up after a few bites.

                        seems like they've slowly been getting busier and the word is getting out. hope they maintain the quality

                      2. f
                        foodiegal71 Aug 26, 2012 06:09 PM

                        Today was my third visit, and first for the buffet. We are so lucky to have Asiana in Austin (and especially so close to my house!). Every time I've eaten there, I've been blown away, and have tried something different. The dosas are amazing. I've never had anything like it.

                        Today, they actually turned me into a goat lover with the briyani on the buffet. I've eaten goat a few times at other Indian places, out in Llano at Cooper's, at Barley Swine...and I just figured I wasn't a fan. It's usually just...blah.

                        But today, the goat in the briyani was amazing. I wanted briyani so I was willing to try the goat, and boy am I glad I did! So moist, tender and just little hints of some fat on it to give it a great flavor, similar to lamb.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: foodiegal71
                          slowcoooked Aug 27, 2012 05:37 AM

                          I've been fortunate to enjoy the goat biryani a few times now and your'e right, delicious. It's also perfectly spiced - all those lovely flavors dancing in the rice with heat that doesn't overwhelm.

                        2. amysuehere Aug 27, 2012 02:42 PM

                          We live north and usually go to Taj Palace. Is it worth the drive for us or is it about on par with TP?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: amysuehere
                            f
                            foodiegal71 Aug 28, 2012 08:22 AM

                            Way, way better than Taj. Miles better. Totally worth the drive.

                            Of course, this is all just my personal opinion ;)

                            1. re: amysuehere
                              slowcoooked Aug 28, 2012 09:49 AM

                              I live in North Central and work at UT and find it's completely worth the drive as well. I do like Taj as a solid choice if I haven't the time to trek the extra 5 miles. But I agree Asiana is a ton better (both the buffet and especially the menu items). The depth and complexity of flavors in their dishes just isn't matched in this area, and that's not just because it's "hotter" food. I used to eat Sarovar a few times a month and since Asiana came 'round, I've not been back there. Usually they'll have some type of thin chicken curry (chettinad, nilgiri) alongside the standard but delicious chicken tikka masala on the buffet that makes me literally smile with delight to eat and I crave until the next time. Last Friday the place was packed with Indian folks too.

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