04/05/2011 04:36AM ● Published by Style
Photo by Dante Fontana
Oftentimes, my adventurous palate craves quality-made ethnic fare.
While foreign food can be a bit daunting to some, I look at it as an opportunity to soak up an entirely new culture without even leaving town. Enter Tandoori Nights. Serving authentic Pakistani Indian food, this eatery is certain to open you up to the deliciousness of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Walking in I was met with pure simplicity: an open dining room with tables and chairs, a self-serve beverage and utensil station, and minimal artwork adorning the walls. Later I discovered the food, not necessarily the ambience, is what makes Tandoori Nights so sensational. The friendly man working the cash register patiently guided me through the menu, which was a bit intimidating at first. Luckily, between the descriptions provided and samples he allowed me to try, I was able to decide on the Bengan Bhartha, Garlic Naan, Tandoori Chicken Tikka Boti and a side of basmati rice.
After helping myself to a complimentary cup of chai tea, I took a seat. As traditional Indian music played, no longer did I feel like I was nestled in a Roseville strip mall; rather, I felt I was overseas about to indulge in food most aren’t exposed to everyday. A few songs later and my eye-appealing dishes arrived.
First, I devoured the Bengan Bhartha, which consisted of roasted then mashed eggplant, finely chopped onions, peas and tomatoes, all seasoned with unique and incredibly flavorful spices. Mixed with the light and nutty basmati rice, my taste buds were taken to ecstasy! But my love affair didn’t end there. After savoring the Tandoori Chicken Tikka Boti – juicy cubes of boneless chicken, marinated then grilled in the tandoor (clay oven) and topped with cilantro, white onion and fresh lemon slices – I became even more smitten. Last, but definitely not least on flavor, was the garlic naan. The buttery and perfectly crisped flatbread was the perfect finish to my midday meal. Next time the craving or curiosity for Middle Eastern cuisine beckons, look no further than Tandoori Nights!
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