Overview: The North India Bistro is a casual dining place, which provides a cafeteria-style meal. The restaurant draws its name from the tandoor, which is a traditional clay oven used throughout India and parts of the Middle East. The food is traditional Punjabi, which has spicy flavor profiles with meats braised in delicious gravies. It is also known for its use of dairy. Tandoori Oven trims its meat of all visible fats and marinades it in a blend of yogurt and spices for 24 hours then cooks it in the tandoor at high heats. The food reminds me of the color you see when trees' leaves transform into autumn colors. A canopy of rich ambers, liquid browns and heart-stone reds reflect the colors of the savory curries served at this comfortable eatery. The portions are large, so it is unlikely that you will leave hungry.
Décor: The restaurant has brightly colored walls each with its own distinct and complementary hue. Blue booths line a wall and free standing tables fill the dining room. Curtains frame the windows and some of the walls. Usually, the job of curtains is to protect or allow sunlight in window, but these curtains are purely an accent meant to provide exotic depth to the environment. Decorated with art for sale, the theme is a cheerful and vibrantly accented restaurant.
Drinks: There is a pretty wide selection of beers ($4.00 and $7.00), which includes Kingfisher, Taj Mahal, Blue Moon, Flying Horse, Fat Tire, and Maharaja. Bottomless selection of sodas and chai ($1.47) ensure you maintain a wet whistle. An interesting drink on the menu is called mango lassi ($3.47), a traditional mix of yogurt, water and mango pulp that is more on the tangy, rather than sweet side. Salmon Creek Wine is offered by the bottle in red and white ($12.00).
Appetizer: Chicken Kabob ($5.97) three pieces of tender chicken marinated for 24 hours, spiced and cooked in a tandoori oven served with onion and side of cucumber salad; Seekh Kabob ($5.97) three pieces of ground chicken, seasoned with chili ginger and a special blend of spices cooked in the tandoor and served with a side of cucumber salad; Samosas ($4.97) two house-made pastry shells filled with cumin-roasted potatoes with a side of cholay; Cholay Bhature ($5.97) seasoned garbanzo beans topped with onions and cilantro served with fried naan bread; Aloo Tikki ($4.97) two potato patties spiced with green chilies and onions, served with a side of cholay.
Entrée: The Tandoori Oven provides a choice where each item can be ordered a la carte or as a full dinner including dishes like Angry Chicken ($6.97) a traditional Indian BBQ chicken cooked to perfection in the tandoor and Tandoori Mixed Grill ($11.97) spicy ground and marinated chicken kabobs and fish kabobs garnished with lemons and onions served with rice or naan. A new dish on the menu, Chicken Biriyani ($10.97) and Lamb Biriyani ($11.97) are dishes intensely flavored in a sauce layered with a unique blend of spices cooked with onion, cashews and bell peppers with either lamb or chicken accompanied with raita; and Chicken Curry ($9.97 and $10.97). There's also saag, a spinach or mustard leaf-based vegetable that is the core of Saag Chicken ($9.97 and $10.97) and Saag Lamb ($10.97 and $11.97). Korma is a style of preparation in which meat is braised in water stock and yogurt at low temperature. It is available in chicken ($9.97 and $10.97) and lamb ($10.97 and $11.97). There is also Lamb Curry ($10.97 and $11.97) and Fish Curry ($11.97 and $12.97). Vegetarian dishes include Saag Paneer ($9.97 and $10.97) a spinach and cheese dish; Paneer Marsala ($9.97 and $10.97); Kofta Curry ($9.97 and $10.97) vegetable meatball curry; and the Veggy Curry of the Day ($9.97). Nearly all of the proteins are available in a wrap ($7.97).
Sides: Tandoori Chicken Salad ($8.97) is presented with a heaping mound of romaine lettuce tossed with mint dressing and topped with marinated chicken and cucumber; and Tandoori Paneer Salad ($8.97) features light traditional Indian cheese served on a bed of romaine lettuce, tossed with cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, walnuts, dried cranberries and a special vinaigrette dressing. Other accompaniments that have starbursts of flavor are Cholay ($3.57) seasoned garbanzo beans topped with onions and cilantro; Dal ($3.57); and Basmati Rice ($1.97) a pilaf with two rice seeds, lightly spiced with a hint of cinnamon that whispers sweet under currents. Items that cool the palette are cucumber or potato salad ($1.97); Raita ($1.97); and Saag or Curry Dipping Sauce ($2.97). Naan ($1.77 to $3.97) a flat type of bread is a crowd pleaser. It's served stuffed with your choice of items like spicy ground lamb, paneer (an Indian cheese), or just plain baked fresh daily in the tandoori oven.
Service: Tandoori Oven offers cafeteria style counter service, where you step up to the line and place your order. You’ll receive a number that will identify you to the wait staff who will deliver your meal. After that you will be on your own, but, no worries, you’ll be too busy eating.
Signature Dish: Chicken Tikka Marsala ($9.97 and $10.97) marinated chicken breast cooked in the tandoor and served over basmati rice.
- Tandoori Oven North India Bistro
- 133 North Santa Cruz Avenue
- Chef: Ifthakharul Islam
- Cost: $20 to $30