26 April, 2007
Tandoor (East Franklin, Chapel Hill)Posted in : Dining in Chapel Hill - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
1301 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC
When Mr. Gourmez and I eat Indian food out, I’m always drawn to the onion chutney on the table. Tandoor’s onion chutney boldly varied in flavor and color from the average offering. It was tulip red and somewhat sweet, which was a pleasant counterpoint to the bitterness of raw onion. The green sauce (no, I don’t know it’s proper name) was also refreshingly different from its peers-smooth and bursting with flavor.
For decor, Tandoor’s claim to be a fine-dining establishment falls short. Its walls are the standard glossy cream that reminds me of a rest home. I’m never a fan of glass-top tables over white linens, as the glass just never seems to get clean enough. At least there was an Indian painting framed beneath the glass and cloth, adding a necessary splash of color.
We opted for the $32 dinner for two, including appetizer, coffee or tea, a variety of dishes, rice, naan, and dessert. I highly recommend ordering a full-bodied glass of the Grover Vineyard red wine as well. If you are a lover of spice, ask for the maximum heat level. We chose medium and there was little to tantalize the taste buds. Many ethnic food restaurants tend to tone down the spice regardless of what you ask for, and I can’t really blame them-undoubtedly they have had to reimburse many upset customers who got more heat than they expected.
Samosas with a thick mango chutney started the meal out. The chutney was a tad too sweet but I didn’t mind as the strong mango flavor was welcome when laced onto the bland samosa. I’m not actually sure if the mashed potato in the samosa was even spiced at all. There definitely weren’t any peas, carrot, or meat.
For the main course, we received tandoori chicken and sausage, lamb vindaloo, and a vegetable dish, which I loved. It melted in your mouth, except for the corn kernels that popped on each bite. Delicious. The tandoori meats were well cooked and the lamb vindaloo was the same as always, which isn’t a complaint.
For dessert, we received small saucers of a plain rice pudding. I’m never one to reject sweets, so I ate it all but it almost wasn’t worth the effort.
I’ll definitely head back to Tandoori, as it’s the best Indian food I’ve had yet in the Triangle. As you can tell, I wasn’t thrilled, just satisfied, so if you have somewhere you think I should try instead, please let me know! I’m not sure anywhere else could beat the price for the dinner for two, however. A good value when you’re in the need of some naan.