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Copper Pot Indian Grill -- Superb New Restaurant

Michael Florey Sep 4, 2012 01:33 PM

This new Indian place opened last week in the Lumber Exchange building at 5th and Hennepin. I have been now twice for lunch and once for dinner. The food is absolutely superb - as good as the best Indian places in London. The proprietors appear to be from Hyderabad, and the cuisine of central India is very well represented. But unlike many places, there is a fair amount of seafood, including fish, prawns, and a fabulous blue crab in coconut milk curry appetizer.

The menu is extensive, with many vegatarian dishes, lamb, fish, duck, chicken, etc. There are clay oven roasted meats, and a number of masalas. The spices are deeply cooked and deftly administered. Cardamom is a favorite apparently. The ingredients are top notch. All the chicken is really tender and juicy -- I wish mine were so good. The vegetable dishes are amazing -- they have several with baby eggplant. The service is great and there is a full bar. At dinner we had delicious mojitos served in huge bird-bath glasses, with tons of fresh mint.

The sit-down menu is not cheap. Appetizers run $9-$14; main dishes run $14-$25, But it is absolutely worth every penny in my view. The lunch buffet is a screaming deal. All you can eat for $10, and you can do it as takeout if you like. (They give you 3 generous plastic containers to fill at the buffet.)

It is a very short walk from the light rail stop. If you enjoy Indian food, this place is a gem.

  1. a
    alpa chino Oct 26, 2012 05:21 PM

    I'm not a big fan of buffets either for the same reason everyone else isn't. However, for $10, all you can eat, and if the food is as good as everyone says--what the heck.

    Question though. Does this place do the swap and sauce method. Where the sauce is premade and based on what meat you order, they quickly insert the meat into said sauce?

    1. b
      Brad Ballinger Oct 25, 2012 01:57 PM

      Aw, Michael. You had me until the word "buffet" made it into your post. But that might say more about Minnesotans than it does about the restaurant.

      Have you been to Tulsi in NYC (http://tulsinyc.com/)? I only ask so you could compare this place to that one. That's one of my fave higher end Indian places I've been to recently.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Brad Ballinger
        j
        JimGrinsfelder Oct 25, 2012 11:05 PM

        The original Tea House off Shelard Parkway runs a lunch buffet. And the last time I was there they had really mediocre food in the buffet and really good food on the Szechuan menu.

        As you say, sometimes it says more about Minnesotans and the restaurant owners' adaptability and survival instincts than it does about the restaurants' quality.

        1. re: Brad Ballinger
          Michael Florey Oct 26, 2012 10:42 AM

          Brad Ijust returned from lunch with my wife about 10 minute ago. We had the buffet, and it was awesome. Indian food is made for that style of eating. And for $9.99 the number of dishes (12 at least) and the quality were extraordinary.

          Have not been to Tulsi. I will definitely put that on my list. Unfortunately I have not had any trips to NYC in awhile.

        2. r
          Rowdy Oct 25, 2012 11:09 AM

          Five of us had dinner there last night and were able to give the kitchen a good test. In my opinion, this is hands-down the best Indian food in the Twin Cities, and I've tried most of the places except Bombay Bistro.

          Standouts were the Bagara Baigan, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Palak Paneer for mains, the Bhel Poori, Ragada Patties and Manchurian Blue Crab for starters. We had a total of five starters, 6 mains, lassis, and dessert.

          Each dish was so distinct from every other, too often not the case in most local establishments. Everything was so fresh, again a departure from most other places. We were one of only two tables throughout the evening who weren't from the subcontinent, so that tells you something.

          What I noticed most of all was the complexity of the spicing, which is as it should be. It seems most other places use minimal spice and jack it up with hot pepper to make it "spicy" if that's what you want. Here we weren't even asked what level of spice we wanted; the dishes indicated "hot and spicy" came out that way, and the others were wonderfully complex but not hot. When dishes are spiced properly, you don't need heat to add interest.

          All in all, a memorable meal. I hope people will give the place a try!

          1. g
            GutGrease Sep 26, 2012 01:13 PM

            Just went today. The food was all very good and I tried just about everything on the buffet. It took me until my third trip to the buffet to realize that you hang the copper pot covers by the handle above pots. Once I got that process down....good stuff. Nothing wowed me but it was all in my very good category. I found two of the dishes to have good spice (nothing that made me sweat or gave me the spicy hiccups) with the rest of them being less spicy. I wouldn't call them bland because they had good flavor, just not much heat.

            I would definitely go back and would like to try ordering off of the menu

            1. m
              MaineAppetite Sep 24, 2012 06:57 PM

              I agree that this place is terrific. Lunch can be very crowded lately; I think they had a Groupon. One of my co-workers is Indian and she says the food's authentic. Manager (owner?) is nice; even when there's a crowd he tries to take good care of customers. My office has been here four or five times already. Good Middle Eastern lunch spot right next door, too.

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