Evening restaurant review
The last time we dined at this location (700 East and 3300 South), the space was occupied by the now defunct Bombay Express; home to one of our most surreal dining experiences ever. At one point the owner (dressed in suit and sneaker combo) even tried to hire Wendi as a server during our meal. The meal ended with us being told they only accepted cash. With only a credit card in my wallet, I was left as a deposit in the restaurant while Wendi sought an ATM. Suffice to say, we weren’t overly surprised when the place closed down. When Tandoor Indian Grill appeared in it’s place, we were more than intrigued.
Once we learned that Tandoor Indian Grill was a completely new venture, we quickly decided to give the place a whirl. We are huge lovers of Indian food. Amongst the never ending array of Thai and Japanese restaurants, Salt Lake City sports only a modest number of Indian restaurants; and I’d venture to say less than a handful of decent ones.
On a cold and quiet Thursday we arrived at Tandoor Indian Grill. Quickly greeted by who I presume is the new owner, we were offered our choice of seats. Our host enquired as to whether we had visited before, after a little discussion, he graciously thanked us for coming in and giving them a try. Given our previous experiences with the old tenant we both appreciated the warm friendly greeting and vastly improved atmosphere. The improvements certainly helped ease our apprehension.
The dining space has also undergone a slight update. The additions of white table clothes, cozy booths, and a new coat of paint have made a world of difference.
After surveying the menu, I noted the lack of any alcoholic beverages. Usually this would be a crushing blow, but I wasn’t feeling particularly like a drink, so I didn’t enquire any further. It’s my guess that they don’t have a license yet, so be warned if your looking to ease the heat of a Vindaloo with an ice-cold Taj Mahal or Kingfisher.
After making our selections, the usual Indian chutneys arrived (one sweet, one mint). I tried the Chicken Pakora ($4.95):
Pieces of marinated chicken breast deep fried in a light batter. It was a pleasant enough rendition of one of my favourite appetizers. The batter was a little different to others I have tried, including a little cilantro blended in to perk things up.
Wendi ordered the Vegetarian Samosas ($3.95):
A deep fried pastry filled with mashed potato and peas. This was not so great. We both felt the potato was bland and under seasoned. The pastry was also a little excessive and heavy. It required lashings of chutney to be finished off.
Continuing on the vegetarian kick, Wendi order the Bendhi Masala ($9.95):
All entrees can be ordered mild, medium or hot. Wendi ordered hot and we were delighted to discover that “hot” at Tandoor Indian Grill comes with an appreciable kick. I find far too many places over Americanize the dishes, leading to insipid and bland renditions. This okra dish was just right as far as the heat.
I opted for another standby favourite, Chicken Tikka Masala ($11.95):
I ordered mine medium. Wendi proclaimed it would be fantastic ordered hot. We both agreed this was the hit of the night, a rich, creamy curry with chunks of marinated chicken breast and green bell peppers. My only grumble would be that I would have liked to have seen a bit more chicken in the delicious gravy.
Rather than bread, we chose rice to accompany the meal. I’m a little obsessive with my rice, I’ve spent years trying to perfect it in my own kitchen so I always expect restaurants to be as good, if not better. I’m a sucker for perfectly cooked basmati. The rice at Tandoor Indian Grill was merely functional. I will try the bread instead next time. To be fair I am a rice geek, so this may not be a big deal for most people.
First impressions seem largely positive. The restaurant was a little quiet for my tastes, although this is understandable for a new establishment at 8PM on a cold Thursday night. Without doubt, we will be back again to try more of the menu. If I find other items on the menu I like, and if they add in some Indian beers to the menu, I will no doubt be hooked.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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