From the Kitchen

Indian Tandoor Halal has flavorful tikka masala, crispy naan

Kelli Mosher | Staff Photographer

Indian Tandoor Halal features multiple types of naan, including paneer, Kashmiri and ginger varieties.

It’s that point in the semester when everyone feels a little (or very) stressed and may be struggling to go to class and get assignments done. Somehow, the stress and pressure both hinders and ignites the motivation to do schoolwork. I’ve been at that point these past two weeks, so I was really looking forward to taking a break and getting Indian food at Indian Tandoor Halal.

GrubHub connoisseurs may already be familiar with Indian Tandoor Halal’s menu, as it offers delivery. In fact, it seems as though the majority of its business comes from take-out. When I visited the restaurant itself on Harrison Street, it was empty except for the two employees. The floors were linoleum and the chairs looked like relics from a 1980s office building. However, the colorful placemats and wall paint brought some life into the place.

The menu offers a solid selection of entrées: There are Kathi rolls, an Indian flatbread rolled up with a choice of 14 different fillings. There are several vegetarian options with potatoes instead of chicken or lamb. They all are served with fries and a soda. A Kathi roll would be a great option for someone trying Indian food for the first time, because the familiar comfort of a sandwich, fries and a Coke will definitely help newcomers become accustomed.

There are also several curries, kababs and a wide and exciting variety of naan. I would have loved to order just naan, as they offered paneer naan, made with a type of Indian cheese; Kashmiri naan made with golden raisins, nuts and coconut; and a ginger naan. However, I figured it was best to try some other foods as well.

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Kelli Mosher | Staff Photographer

I ordered a chicken tikka masala, which was cubed chicken marinated with tandoori spices and served with a thick vermillion-colored sauce over rice. The flavors were definitely unlike European and American cuisine, and the warm food and hot spices left a lasting impression. The restaurant allows the customer to determine the level of spiciness they want, on a scale from one to ten. The tikka masala was almost like eating chicken pot pie, but better because it had more flavor.

I also tried a samosa, which is a fried dumpling filled with potatoes and green peas, and can be dressed with a light, cilantro and mint based sauce, or a thicker, sweet and spicy tamarind sauce. The samosa was cooked well, but even though the inside was a little bland on its own, adding sauces completely transformed the dish. I preferred the cilantro mint variety, but the tamarind sauce was also good.

The naan was a nice way to cool down my palate after eating the spicy masala and the flavorful samosas. It was crispy and chewy, perhaps a little undercooked, but still delicious.

I finished off with a mango lassi, an Indian yogurt-based smoothie, but much sweeter and richer. I remember having homemade lassis the times I had eaten Indian food at my family friend’s house, but I don’t remember it being as sweet as Indian Tandoor Halal’s recipe. For me, it was a little too sugary, and since I was already full from eating, I was only really able to drink a few sips before I was satisfied.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about the restaurant was the server — I’m not kidding. He was about 14 years old, and provided service promptly. By his presence, I believe the restaurant was family-owned. It reminded me of a friend back home who worked in his parents’ Cambodian restaurant from the time he was around this boy’s age to when we graduated high school. I’m always down to support family-owned businesses.

Overall, I would eat Indian Tandoor Halal’s food again. However, I would sooner order it for delivery than I would go back to the restaurant itself. Its location on Harrison Street is close to the Centro bus transfer station, but I would not want to deal with bus rides and a five to ten minute walk when it’s far easier to have the food come right to my residence hall.

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