Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Your Call - Tarka

A few weeks back when I wrote about a less than stellar dinner at Taj Mahal, a commenter suggested we head out to Tarka to satisfy our curry craving. Relying upon the recommendation of this Decayed Gentlewoman, The Folk Singer and I ventured out to this purveyor of Indian & Pakistani cuisine on Williams Boulevard.

My prior experience with Pakistani cuisine was nonexistent, and because we set out on this adventure specifically seeking out samosas and the like, we did not sample much of the Pakistani offerings on the menu. But if you trust the opinion of Ian McNulty (as we usually do), then perhaps you are better off thinking outside the tandoori box.

Instead, we stuck to what we knew best and ordered several our favorite Indian dishes. The meal starts with two complimentary chutneys: tamarind and a mint version which surprisingly had quite a bit of heat. Naan had a nice firm crust on the outside, but the samosas missed the mark with an unfortunately doughy pastry. We asked for raita with our appetizers, but the waitress said that they were out. Hmmm, OK. We improvised with a dish of plain yogurt augmented by the spicy mint chutney, which created a suitable stand in.

Our entrees were rather disappointing as well. Palak (a/k/a Saag) Paneer had a wonderfully light texture, but the chef must have forgotten to salt the spinach while cooking. The opposite was the case with the Lamb Boti, whose tandoori cooked morsels were dry and tasted like they had been covered in garlic salt. The Folk Singer's Chicken Makhni had a tomato-butter cream sauce which had broken into a bland base covered in a sheen of ghee. In short, where we expected flavorful sauces and spices, they just were not there.

So, not a good first impression made by Tarka. We will certainly give it another shot, probably on the weekend when the Pakistani beef specials are available. If I am ever in the area during lunch, I'll probably stop in at the buffet in order to sample a wider spectrum of the menu.

But for now at least, the search continues...

6 comments:

Shelly said...

Sorry it didn't work out! For what it's worth, the reviews of it on urbanspoon have gone from good to bad as well- so I don't know what's going on with them. I haven't been in a couple months, so I'm not sure my opinion would still stand if I went now. Bummer!

Peter said...

No apology is necessary, Shelly. One must endure through the not-so-great meals so that the excellent really stand out. I'll report back when I try the beef specialties at Tarka.

Keep the suggestions coming.

April said...

I was so terribly not impressed with Tarka. One of the first things I noticed was the paltry amount of rice. Big heads up that this place is less than authentic. I had the Saag Paneer and it lacked spice, both in flavor and heat. I ordered it spicy, which would have been barely medium at Taj Mahal.

If you haven't tried it yet, Curry Corner on Carollton in the River Bend is bare bones, but spicy and tasty. It's like food your (fictional) Indian Mom would make. The mango lassi is the best I've ever had, with very small mango chunks. It's a buffet and they weigh your food at the end. If I lived in the neighborhood, I'd stop there at least once a week. But, I suspect that's mostly because I really love Indian Food.

Peter said...

April,

I have not yet tried Curry Corner but have heard mixed reviews.

Correct me if I'm wrong, isn't it owned and operated by the same chef who owns Sara's? I have only been to Sara's once, but I enjoyed my meal there.

Thanks for the recommendation. We will try Curry Corner soon.

Chop said...

I follow your blog on my RSS reader and love it. Keep up the food adventures.

My wife and I tried Taj Mahal and really liked it as far as Indian food in GNOA goes. I just moved down from Maryland and though the local food is AMAZING here; the international scene hasn't really impressed me. The Thai places I've tried have been nigh indistinguishable from other Asian restaurants.

But, we're getting ready to start trying your Vietnamese recommendations this weekend! I really can't wait as DC didn't have too many Vietnamese places.

Uncle Lee-Bird said...

The best indian food anywhere near New Orleans is India4U in Mandeville. - Niki