Evening dinner review
I don’t get to the Layton area nearly often enough, in fact, I can probably count the number of times I’ve been on one hand. I did have an opportunity to head up north recently though due to the lure of Black Island Farm’s corn maze and the too-good-to-pass-up promise of ‘pig racing’. Sadly the pigs weren’t up for racing that day, but while in the area, I did manage to check out a restaurant that has received heaps of praise: Taste Of India.
Taste Of India garners a raft of online support and has won City Weekly’s award for Best Tikka Massala. A little iPhone research revealed that the restaurant utilized iPads for their menus and ordering system. I don’t think I’ve ever seen, let alone heard, of anything similar in a restaurant. In my mind, iPad ordering ranked closely to the pig racing on the oddity meter and I required no more convincing that Taste of India would be our dining destination that evening.
Sadly and for an unknown reason, we didn’t receive an iPad from which to order. Every subsequent table did receive one. I was a tad puzzled, either we had arrived too early (5:00 p.m., and to an empty restaurant), or we looked like iPad thieves. I prefer to imagine it was the former, but after fighting our way out of a corn maze, it very well could have been the later. When we arrived, several of the staff were still involved with setup and cleaning tasks. Nonetheless, they were exceedingly friendly and we were quickly seated and given traditional low-tech menus (sigh).
Like many of Salt Lake’s Indian restaurants, Taste Of India is nestled in a strip mall. The interior was mostly booth seating and the decor included silken drapes and dimmed lighting to take the edge off the nature of the strip mall location. I actually wondered if the restaurant has previously been a Mexican eatery due to the faux terracotta tiling and arches circling the roof. Overall, it was a comfortable atmosphere and I settled into our booth ready to begin (as usual if it’s on the menu) with a cold Taj Mahal ($6.99):
A nice touch, that I haven’t encountered at any SLC Indian restaurants was a frosted glass for my beer. Indeed, when I ordered a second beer later in the meal they replaced my glass again, with a nice new ice cold one.
The appetizer selection was relatively limited, consisting mostly of deep fried fare. We decided to share the Assorted Fritters ($6.99) to enjoy a taste of everything:
The appetizers were competent enough, if not particularly amazing. My only gripe was the Chicken Pakora batter was a tad too thick. For the price though, it was a good way to start the meal. I was glad I had the crisp Taj Mahal to cut through some of the grease, as towards the end of the plate, it did start to overwhelm.
Our entrees arrived while we were still working our way through the appetizer plate, which meant for some quick re-arranging of the table. We decided to try the Paneer Tikka Masala ($10.99) to gauge the worthiness of their Masala accolades:
and also the Lamb Rogan Josh ($13.99):
The Rogan Josh was my personal favourite of the two. The curry had a satisfyingly deep flavour. Unlike some restaurants were it’s fairly obvious the difference in sauces is merely the use of cream and/or chillis, the Rogan Josh had a distinctly meaty undertone, completely unlike the Tikka Masala. The lamb itself was of excellent quality and obviously well-butchered (no off putting gristly pieces that sometimes spoil lamb dishes for me).
As for the Masala, it was indeed very very good, but not the best I’ve had in SLC and surrounding areas. Ok, so it might not be the most traditional of Indian dishes, but its undeniably one of the most popular, and when done well is thoroughly enjoyable. Taste Of India’s was less creamy than others, but much like the Rogan Josh, still possessed a complex and well developed flavour.
We ordered both dishes at the medium spice level, and were not disappointed. The medium had just enough spice to cause a little brow moistening for sure. I’d imagine dishes ordered hot would definitely have the bite heat lovers are looking for. In addition to the rice served with all entrees, for the sake of journalistic integrity (and even happier bellies), we also ordered the Plain Naan ($1.99):
This was certainly one of the better Naan breads I have had locally. Light, fluffy, and steaming hot right from the Tandoor; and finished off which a quick glaze of ghee. While I’m on the topic of the sides, I should also make a note of the rice which was of a superior quality. I’m somewhat of a rice snob, regardless of the cuisine, and the basmati and preparation at Taste of India were better than most.
We finished our dinner with a cup of Chai Tea ($2.59) and looked on enviously at everyone else ordering from their iPads. I almost went over to interrogate a few other diners and have a look at just how the restaurant uses the gadgets, but thought wiser of it (nightmares of having a Larry David moment dancing in my head). So, overall, the food was very tasty and definitely made up for the lack of technology at our table. I am, however, tempted to make the ride up to Layton again sometime very soon, for both the food and the iPad!
Taste Of India
1664 Woodland Park Dr #401 Layton, UT 84041