Touch of India [Birmingham, DTW, MI]
When I heard there was an Indian restaurant in Downtown Birmingham, I was sure it would be a disaster of epic proportions. I wanted to try it... not to find out if it was bad... but to find out just HOW bad it was.
Well, pigs are flying, because this place was pretty darn good!
Here's what I ordered:
>> Special chicken biryani. Similar to the dish of the same name at Namaste Flavours or Athidhi. The rice is great, very flavorful, fluffy and tender, but still robust. Lots of cloves and cassia bark to pick through--just the way I like it. The chicken was a bit spongy (Namaste & Athidhi's chickens are much better), but not a dealbreaker. Would probably not order this particular biryani again, but I *would* order the egg biryani or Hyderabadi chicken biryani instead.
>> Aloo paratha. Very good. A tad oily, but not a dealbreaker. Masala in the paratha has more flavor than most other restaurants here. Also, the paratha is a lot thinner than at other restaurants in the area, so it gets crisper--I prefer it this way, but I'm sure others prefer thicker. Would order again.
>> Chicken chaat. Delicious. Looks like crap, but tastes amazing. It's rare to find non-veg chaat, and this one is tasty. It's a small portion ($3.50), but enough to satisfy. They mix a tamarind chutney and a cilantro chutney into a tart-sweet chutney they pour over tender morsels of chicken and crisp cukes. Served cold, and so refreshing for summer. Will always order.
>> Chicken bhuna. The only disappointment. Just a regular curry not unlike what one can find at any run-of-the-mill Indian joint. Lots of tomato gave it a watered-down flavor. Really lacked the depth and, well, panache of the curries at a Namaste or Athidhi. Would not hesitate to try other curries, just wouldn't order the bhuna again.
Spice level is good. If you ask for "very spicy", you get "spicy", not the typical "wet sock American spicy" served at most Indian restaurants in this area. Service is quick and friendly. Really looking forward to trying more on their menu. For me, Touch is already second to Athidhi for the best Indian in eastern Oakland County--and there's a big gap between these top two and the rest of the pack (e.g. Priya, Ashoka, etc.)
Touch of India
297 E Maple Road
Birmingham, MI 48009
Cute little cafe. I had chicken tikka masala and saag paneer, which is indicative of my Indian cuisine narrow mindedness. Both were worthy of a return visit to this spot. Owner was very nice and even let me explore his tandor behind the counter. I too found the spice levels respectable. The portions were small but decent in value. I don't yet know enough to be able to get on the Much Better Than Ashoka bandwagon, but it may not be out of the question in the future. Sorry for the non-analytical comments....that's why I didn't want to lead off the thread.