Thursday, April 4, 2013

India Garden

I am absolutely kicking my 2013 "To Dine" list's butt. I have already tackled five out of ten restaurants since January. I am bound and determined to complete the list this year! Last night, with the help of six friends, I conquered India Garden in Lakewood.

It's a relatively small place, tucked back slightly from the road, so you need to be on the lookout. Luckily, they do have visible signage. There is a parking lot that offers free parking out front. I tried calling earlier in the day to make a reservation, but no one answered the phone. I made sure to arrive 15 minutes early so that the table would be all set once everyone arrived. They immediately pushed two tables together for us.

The service continued to be outstanding throughout the meal. They let us take our time ordering, but were always refilling our water glasses and checking in on us. Our server was also very helpful in determining spice level when we finally ordered. They have a 1-10 scale, which I think is intimidating. I could confidently order a 4 on a scale of 1-5, but with ten options--- I was scared of going too hot! I ended up with a 6, but I should have gone with the 8 that our server suggested for me. Almost everyone else at our table ordered a 2 or 3, which is probably more standard. I have a love for extreme heat.

We started with the Mixed Vegetable Platter ($7.95) with two samosas, four pakora, and four aaloo tikki. It was more than enough to share. I really liked the samosas. They were big, which allowed there to be more filling and less fried shell. Sometimes, I think samosas can be dry and bland if there is not enough filling. Tip--- be aware that the green dipping sauce on the table is quite hot!

I love trying multiple Indian dishes at a time, but if I'm just ordering one item on my own, it's always Chicken Tikka Masala. I was pleasantly surprised to see Lamb Tikka Masala ($14.95) on the menu, so that's exactly what I ordered.
Slightly darker in color than the Chicken Tikka Masala, it was quite good and I really enjoyed the lamb over chicken. Was it the best Tikka Masala that I've had around Cleveland? No, but it was good and I'd get it again.

A side of Garlic Naan ($2.95) is a no-brainer.

Also, a new-to-me addition to the meal was a side of Raita ($2.95). It's a sauce made with fresh yogurt that is spiced with onions, tomatoes, and cucumber (very similar to tzatziki). It was so tangy and refreshing, and a wonderful addition to the Indian spices.

Overall, it may not have been my favorite Indian that I've had in the area, but it was really good and I will be going there again. It was probably one of the best dine-in experiences that I've had at an Indian restaurant.

I think the next restaurant that I'm going to try on the list is Sterle's Country House. Who's coming with me?

India Garden
18405 Detroit Road
Lakewood, OH 44107


Anonymous said...

I run past there all the time but am always too scared to eat Indian!
Sterle's is great! Love the food there. I swear they make the best potatoes.

6502Programmer said...

I work practically around the corner from Sterle's, and get there twice a month for lunch.

Kristian said...

LOOOOOOVE India Garden. It's my favorite period. We get the eggplant dish and the spinach/cheese dish.

What IS your favorite Indian restaurant in the area?

Bite Buff said...

I don't have a favorite yet. I like the Butter Chicken and Lamb Saag at Cafe Tandoor better than other versions. Still lots of places to try!