Put some Indian in your cupboard (and your tummy)

Jeremy Aldrich -- May 16th, 2008

So a new Indian restaurant has opened, and so has an Indian/Pakistani grocery store. My wife and I went to both this evening…here’s what we thought:

Taste of India is on University Boulevard, in the same shopping center as Vintage Wines across from Costco. It’s a bit pricey, with entrees in the $9-$17 range (cheaper for vegetarian fare, which there’s plenty of). The selection is outrageous, with more than 100 items on the menu, including 15 types of Indian bread. They bring a kind of fried bread and chutney while you wait; all three types of chutney were amazing. We had the vegetable samosa for an appetizer, then Baigan Masala (eggplant) and Saag Paneer (spinach and homemade cheese) which are served with basmati rice. We also tried Mango Lassi and Sweet Lassi to drink, which are made with yogurt. It was all great and we had quite a bit left over too, which is odd for me. The ambiance was alright, with orange paint on the walls and plenty of Indian and Hindu decorations. Overall, worth a visit and we’re going to try to check out the lunch buffets during the week ($6.95) and the champagne brunch on the weekends ($9.95). The owner (who is from Nepal) noted they expect to have their alcohol license in a few weeks.

On the way out, we noticed a flyer for a new Indian/Paki grocery store called Bollywood Indian Spice, behind the mall in the same shopping center as Heavenly Ham. It’s kind of small, but they have a wide selection of spices, quick-preparation meals, snacks, rice and assorted sundries appealing to the Indian within. It’s owned by the guy who used to own Bombay Courtyard

26 Responses to “Put some Indian in your cupboard (and your tummy)”

  1. Katie says:

    Fantastic! Thanks for the update. I just moved back to VA and was looking for an Indian grocery store near-ish Staunton. Will certainly check this out…

  2. Allen says:

    Ohhhhhh if we could only get a DECENT Indian or Thai restaurant in Staunton. sighhhhhh.

  3. David Miller says:

    Gxeremio

    Thanks for the review. I can’t wait to try the restaurant out. What is a Champagne Brunch?

  4. Lisa says:

    I practically live off of Indian food, so when I read the post about Taste of India I rushed out to have dinner there this evening. My husband and I really enjoyed it. I agree with everything Gxeremio said were his likes and dislikes about the place. Impressive: the chutneys they bring you at the start of your meal, the selection of items, and I will add the speed of service and attentiveness of the staff. Compared to Indian American Cafe in downtown Harrisonburg, which is my absolute favorite restaurant but whose service is really slow, you might as well be eating fast food. Not as impressive: the orange walls and overall bland atmosphere. The location leaves much to be desired as well. I feel that corner on Reservoir and University is very unattractive for a restaurant. Still, I’m very glad to have two Indian options again in Harrisonburg.

    We ordered the vegetable pakoras (fried vegetable fritters), alu naan (baked bread stuffed with potatoes) and split an order of saag paneer (homemade cheese and spinach). To drink, we each had a cup of chai tea, bringing our total bill to $27 w/o tip. If you don’t eat out very often, it’s not a terrible price considering all the food you receive. Even splitting an entree, we have enough leftover to eat lunch tomorrow.

    Overall, the food was very good. The pakoras were especially delicious and had just the right amount of spice and crispness from frying. Highly recommended. The saag paneer was a little on the salty side, but full of spice and flavor, and the basmati that came with the meal was fresh and aromatic. The naan was a bit under-spiced in my opinion, but I’m impressed that it’s cooked in a real Tandoor oven and can’t wait to try one of the other 14 varieties. Next time I want to try the paneer naan (bread stuffed with cheese and herbs) or the garlic naan. My only outright disappointment was the chai tea, which tasted very heavy, as if it were made with evaporated milk. I couldn’t finish my cup, but my husband thought it was tasty.

    For those of you who miss Bombay Courtyard, the saag (spinach) dishes are prepared in the Northern India style (versus the Nepalese-style of Indian American Cafe)–only much tastier. I never cared much for Bombay, but I will definitely patron Taste of India again.

    To answer David’s question, I assume a “champagne brunch” is a meal where champagne is served – if so, sign me up! Their menu says it’s available between 11:30am and 3pm Saturday and Sunday and is served with dishes from Southern India. The cost is $9.95/person, half-off for children under 8 and free for children under 4. Regular hours for the restaurant are lunch from 11:30-3 and dinner from 5 to 10, seven days a week.

  5. seth says:

    sounds like dosa!!! can’t wait.

  6. Josh says:

    Katie, is the indian grocery store in downtown Staunton still open? I remember reading an article about it a while back (probably in Eighty One or Rocktown Weekly).

  7. I had take out from Taste of India last night, and it was great! If Chicken Tikka Masala (sp) is on the lunch buffet — I’ll be there! :)

  8. mike keane says:

    i can’t find their contact anywhere!? what are the hours, etc?

  9. finnegan says:

    They need a website. They’re not currently even listed on GoLookOn.

  10. Hilary says:

    Bollywood India Spice is closed on Mondays…that’s all I could surmise from an attempted visit yesterday.

  11. mikekeane says:

    Taste of India
    open 7 days a week

    11:30 – 3:00 lunch buffet
    5:00 to 10:00 dinner

    498d University blvd.
    540 433 3320

    I enjoyed the environment, food and service! Plenty of vegetarian options.

  12. finnegan says:

    I’m definitely going to have to check this out.

  13. Gxeremio says:

    Hilary, if you’re like me you always manage to go to stores and restaurants on the days they’re closed. Why do I always want Chick-fil-A on Sundays and A&T’s Chicken on Tuesday (or is it Wednesday)? By the way, is Inca’s Secret any relation to A&T’s or do we really have two Peruvian-style chicken places in the same shopping center?

  14. Josh says:

    Gxeremio: Wednesday. I make the same mistake often. :) I don’t believe there’s any relation. It’s a weird arrangement.

  15. tony starks says:

    Rode my bike here from Parkview today. Second time eating and for 6.95 this buffet is off the chain. Everyone should go here especially vegetarieriasns!

  16. Erin says:

    I hope I dont receive death threats for saying this, b/c i know there are some very loyal customers to Indian American, but Taste of India makes Indian American look like a sorry excuse for an indian restaurant. Taste of India has a great veg. selection, including two popular ones, baingan bharta, and chana masala, that Indian American doesn’t have. I don’t love the location of the new place, but that is minor when you compare the food and service to Indian American. Also, I dont mind the orange walls, but they could use another coat of paint, and the carpet isn’t so cute, but lets be honest, it’s still 10 times cuter than Bombay Courtyard was. I cant wait to go back!

  17. Josh says:

    I’m with Erin. Taste of India is great! The only thing I think Bombay Courtyard did better was rice. I guess I was missing some aromatics in Taste of India rice. I was never a huge fan of Indian American.

    FWIW, Bourbon Street is offering a $10 Indian buffet on Sundays now.

  18. David Miller says:

    The real trick is that Indian American isn’t Indian it is more specifically Nepalese. I love it and can’t wait to try this new place.

    I personally love Blue Nile’s buffet, I leave far to fat!

  19. Tina says:

    I’m also a big fan of Indian American. In fact, the first time I had Indian food was there.

    That being said, Taste of India is TERRIFIC! I went last week and loved it. And I ended up bringing home as much food as I ate…

  20. Bryan says:

    I’m going to have to take a stand for Indian American here. I’m sure Taste of India is excellent and I’ll be sure to check it out next time I’m in town, but no other restaurant can be compared to IA.

    As stated in a comment above, Indian American is the place to go for your Nepali home cookin’. The main reason that IA can’t be subjected to the standards of other restaurants is that it is owned and operated by the Shrestha couple. As the only two people running the restaurant, they work 6 days a week to bring you a style of cooking that has been cultivated within the walls of that building for over a decade.

    None of the IA loyalists go there for atmosphere, quick service, or even variety. I know personally that a majority of the regulars order the same dish every time. We go there because we know how much love goes into every dish. It is a love that, on my pallet, will never be undone.

    When I want Indian food, there are plenty of excellent choices in my area. When I want Indian American, there is no substitute and I long for the day that I will return to it’s loving, fragrant embrace.

  21. David Miller says:

    Well said Bryan!

  22. David Troyer says:

    I was just at Taste of India this evening, and had a lovely time. I will admit it was quite tasty, and notably a completely different style than IA. Maybe it was just what we ordered, but it probably tasted so good because it was so greasy. Even the naan was a bit on the greasy side.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for spicy. We tried to play safe and said “medium” and got very, very mild.

    I was glad to see they were so busy on a Tuesday night and will add it to my very short list of restaurants I will visit on the east side of town.

  23. Ron says:

    Totally agree with most of the comments on “A Taste of India.” A friend recommended the buffet, and I’ve been there once and it was extraordinary.

    They had chicken that I believe was cooked on a skewer (no skewer present when in the pan); it was sweet and succulent. The vegetable fritters were tremendous, and everything else was terrific. Only made 2 trips to the buffet so as not to seem like a pig, but wantd to make about 9 trips.

    Am going again tomorrow!

  24. john says:

    My daughter and I ate there last night. Wow. Fantastic food. I have eaten in Indian restaurants in London, Singapore, DC, etc, and this is by far the best. I got the tandori sampler and my daughter got the curry chicken. Both excellent

  25. Josh says:

    FYI Bollywood Indian Spice was only open for a few months.

  26. Richard says:

    Yeah, but it was good. Just used up the last of the tandoori paste that I bought there this past Monday. Man, was it tasty!

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