Writing about restaurant visits that are really not worth writing about is very taxing. It’s depressing to make an effort discussing a place that couldn’t care less what quality of food they put out and it’s heart-wrenching, not to mention seriously agonizing, to bust out the cash to pay for it. So now I have to talk about it?
A month or so ago, my friend Lorin and I visited the recently re-opened, reincarnation (not) of Sarah’s Bistro on Dublin Street called Taj of India. When I stepped inside, I noticed that the restaurant looked almost exactly the same as the last time I’d been there, several years ago, only they squashed the already-squashed tables together even further to allow for three large buffet tables in the back. There were a few more patrons than in previous visits, but the restaurant was largely empty.
After selecting a table, we headed straight for the buffet where I scored a plate and loaded it up with rice, veggie pakora, and chana masala (a chick pea curry). I also got a couple pieces of yellowish tandoori chicken and a few spoonfuls of raita. When we got back to the table, they served us a basket of warm naan and the server/owner encouraged us to eat up.
Here’s the depressing part: While nothing we ate was “bad” per se, nothing was actually “good” either. Bland, a word I’ve never employed to describe any Indian cuisine I’d ever eaten in my entire life (California has some amazing Indian restaurants), was completely and utterly appropriate. Other words come to mind like “lukewarm,” “dry,” and “flavorless,” but now I’m just repeating myself.
Will the best Indian food I ever eat again in this town come from a jar? Needless to say, I won’t be back to try dinner…