Sunday, September 5, 2010

Taste of India

   Finally the much needed Indian restaurants have made their way to the Cool Springs area of Middle Tennessee.  Several years ago an Indian place opened in a location notorious for being unable to sustain a restaurant.  The food was incredible, but everyone knew the venue was too large (about 200 seating capacity) to last for long.  Needless to say, it closed after only a few months.  More than six years later, the same management (the well-established Sitar of Nashville) of that ill-fated restaurant have tried again and I think it is going to work this time.

   Taste of India is small corner eatery off of Carothers Parkway in Cool Springs of Franklin that opened about three months ago.  Like most Indian joints, they immediately bring a plate of papadum:  thin, crispy, cracker like bread made from lentils.  With it, they bring mint sauce (which is delicious, but tastes more like cilantro) and a raw onion chutney that is just spicy enough with a hint of sweetness.  I could eat this chutney by the spoonful!  For appetizers we ordered the vegetable pakora (served with a delightful tamarind sauce) and the vegetable samosas.  Both had incredible flavor, but the chick pea breading on the pakora and the pastry of the samosa were a little heavy and slightly tough.  For entrees we ordered chicken xaccutti (a savory coconut and star anise flavored dish) and chicken kolapuri (a spicy blend of peppercorns, whole seed spices, bell peppers, and onions.)  Medium heat is the spice level we chose.  It is the perfect level that warms your mouth but doesn't prevent you from finishing your food.

(Top Left: Handi Goat, Center: Chicken Xaccutti, Right: Chicken Kolapuri)

   And then there is the goat.  Yes, goat.  It's a standard Indian protein that isn't frequently seen on menus in the States.  Our waiter was very hesitant in his recommendations when we asked him how it was.  Apparently several customers were extremely put off by the bones (large pieces and small fragments.)  Initially we ordered something else, but after discussing it for a few minutes decided to try the goat (in a Handi style curry) and brave through the bones.  I can not begin to explain how happy I am about this decision.  If you are warned about the bones up front, they are not an issue because you know to look out for them. This was my first opportunity to try goat since starting to eat meat.  It is so tender and flavorful.  That grassy, heady note in goat cheese and goat milk is in the meat.  I am convinced that all parts and products of this animal share similar flavors.  For the first time in my life, I picked up a hunk of bone and put it in my mouth to get all the meat off of it.  This was absolutely a shift in my meat perspective.  I can't imagine ordering another chicken dish at Taste of India.

(lunch buffet, dinner, takeout)
101 International Dr.--Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 567-6420

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