Indian Taj NYC
Indian Taj West Village181 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012
Indian Taj Bleecker St NYC: Sexy Food; Unsexy ServiceDuring a recent visit to the IFC theater in downtown Manhattan (6th Ave and 3rd St), we walked over to Bleecker St to catch a meal between two movies.
Bleecker St is choc-a-bloc with restaurants offering diverse cuisines but being loyal desis we were on the prowl only for an Indian restaurant.
Voila, we soon stumbled upon Indian Taj. And boy are we glad we did despite the service snafus (more on that soon).
Being cheapo desis, the sight of a poster advertising $10.95 Lunch Buffet from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm was enough to get us drooling. And without further ado we made our way into the restaurant.
Grouchy Indian WaiterAs we climbed up the flight of stairs, we encountered a surly desi waiter (the young fella with three bracelets (two silver and one thread) on his right wrist. Leaning on the cash counter, the bozo was in a reverie and didn't seem pleased to be disturbed. With a sullen look and not a word in greeting, he pointed us to a corner table in a crowded section although several other tables were available.
Hey punk, if you are in a crappy mood go Home and wank off. Don't bring your lousy mood to the paying customers. Comprende?
If you can't extend a smile and mumble a greeting to diners, get out of the dining hall. The chimp's rude behavior continued through the meal (as we'll explain later).
Folks, if we had our way, we'd banish all these morose Indian waiters in NYC to Siberia, Guantanamo or better still order these indolent baboons to scrub toilets in the restaurants. For frequent diners like yours truly, it's extremely vexing to repeatedly encounter desi waiters who are notoriously lazy, rude and hostile, particularly it seems toward Indians.
The same grouchy buffoon brought a jug of water, lifted the glasses that were placed upside down directly (not a good practice)on the glass table and poured cold water into the glass, and on our spirits.
Thanks to the fella's sulky demeanor, we ambled toward the buffet table with mucho trepidation wondering if more annoyances awaited us.
Delicious FoodYipee, Indian Taj turned out to be a fine restaurant where food is concerned.
A lot of what we sampled at Indian Taj pleased us.
During our visit, the restaurant laid out quite a spread that included Vegetable Pakoras, Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Kofta Curry, Goat Meat Curry, Cabbage, Spinach Mushroom Curry, Mutter Paneer, Tadka Dal, Sweet Noodles, Fruit Jelly, Pulao Rice and Naan Bread.
- Cabbage Curry with mild garlic flavor, fried green chilly pieces and coconut was tasty with both Naan bread as well as Pulao rice.
- Spinach Mushroom curry was neither bland nor obscenely spicy but just rightly spiced. Have it with rice or Naan bread, either way you are a winner. Most Indian restaurants we've been to in the U.S. come a cropper with their spinach curries, which invariably end up with a raw taste.
- Mutter Paneer and Tadka Dal - Unlike the Cabbage and Spinach Mushroom curries, the other two vegetarian dishes, i.e. Mutter Paneer and Tadka Dal were a letdown. Set in a pinkish brown watery sauce, Indian Taj's Mutter Paneer seemed as if green peas and cheese cubes were boiled in water and rushed out. Ditto with the Tadka Dal which was like eating tasteless boiled yellow lentils devoid of any seasoning or flavor.
- Naan bread was OK although on the thicker side.
- Vegetable Pakoras were rubbery with black burnt patches and weren't even lukewarm. But the yummy Mint Chutney with a sweetish tinge amply compensated for the rubbery texture of the Pakoras.
- Raita - we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the delicious Cucucumber Raita.
Fine Non-Vegetarian Fare
- Tandoori Chicken, a common fixture at most Indian restaurants in NYC, was well marinated here, without the usual burnt black pock-marks typical at other places.
- Chicken Kofta Curry - While we enjoyed Tandoori Chicken, what pleased us no end was Indian Taj's Chicken Kofta Curry. A succulent delight set in pale brownish color gravy, it was one of the highpoints of our meal. We confess to heading back to the buffet table for a second helping.
- Chicken Tikka Masala in a orangish medium thick gravy was flavorful both with Pulao rice and Naan bread.
- Goat Meat Curry - Ditto with Goat Meat Curry that was set in a medium thick brown color gravy.
Also, kudos to Indian Taj's kitchen for frequently replenishing the Naan bread and other items at the buffet table as they got depleted. Frequently, Indian restaurants cheat customers via the cheap trick of not replenishing empty vessels. But not Indian Taj.
Delicious Fruit Jelly and Sweet NoodlesWe are sick and tired of Carrot Halwa, Gulab Jamun, Rasa Malai that most NYC Indian restaurants shovel out.
So it was a welcome surprise to see Fruit Jelly and Sweet Noodles at Indian Taj.
With a strong orange flavor, Indian Taj's Fruit Jelly was so delicious we finished our first serving with much gusto and treated ourselves to a second serving throwing all calorie concerns to the winds.
While we enjoyed the Fruit Jelly, one spoon into the Sweet Noodles we quickly realized it was nothing but the common Semiya Kheer served in most Indian restaurants. Still, we relished the Sweet Noodles/Semiya Kheer though we'd have preferred a tad less sugar.
Hot FoodBesides the tasty food, Indian Taj also stands out from the scores of chutia Indian restaurants in NYC for ensuring that the food items were hot (referring here to the temperature, not the spice-level). With the exception of Pakoras, all other items on the buffet table were piping hot, a nice thing since the weather is starting to get chilly.
Rude ServiceWhile we thoroughly relished the food at Indian Taj, the persistent grouchy and rude attitude of our waiter throughout our meal was troubling.
When we asked for additional napkins, he mumbled something indecipherable but didn't care to get them. Instead, he got us the check! After waiting for a few minutes, we flagged down another waiter (the older gentleman) for the napkins.
While the waitstaff promptly removed the used plates, they never bothered to refill our water glasses.
Irritating as the waiter's service snafus were, we silently heaped curses on the owner for failing to adequately train his/her staff.
Indian Taj Rating - Go for ItNotwithstanding the eggregiously bad service, we'd still recommend Indian Taj for lunch given its overall fine food at a reasonable price. Just pray, you don't run into the bozo of a waiter or that it's his day off.
Guys, Indian Taj is one of the rare NYC Indian restaurants we'd definitely consider revisiting. - © NYIndia.us