One of the best Indian restaurants I’ve been to in recent years has to be this gem located at 25 State Street, Northampton, Massachusetts.
They’re only open for dinner, not lunches, but they open at five, and so a friend and I met there after each having a full and busy day before this.
For a starter, we shared the tangri chicken — a presentation I’ve not seen before, but which consists of chicken wingettes in a marinade of pomegranate-cumin reduction, atop mascarpone and seasoned goat cheese. It was spicy, but the cheese provided a superb balance. This is highly recommended, and I probably should have photographed them, but I have a dislike of pulling out a camera when dining indoors, especially since the place was beginning to fill. (Filling on a weekday night… Good sign!)
For the main, we shared an order of garlic naan, which is excellent eaten hot or at least warm, and some of it I dipped into my course. My friend ordered the chicken aubergine — boneless chicken combined with baby eggplant, onion, ginger, curry leaves and carmelized garlic with a tamarind jaggery reduction. I ordered an item off the specials of the day menu — so I can’t refer back to the list of ingredients, but it was a flavorful lamb curry, and almost certainly differed from any of the curry styles mentioned in their regular menu. The mains were served with tasty sides of basmati rice, as should be expected. I loved the sauce on my friend’s dish just a touch more than I did mine, but no regrets in any case.
You can order the foods at various levels of spiciness/”heat” — my friend, who has eaten here before, pointed out to me sometimes the meaning of “medium” may vary a bit from one day to the next, which would be the only downside to the experience. My medium was milder than her medium, which may be why she ate all her rice and I only ate about two thirds of mine.
As a beverage, besides copious amounts of water (it was a hot day and I’d been out in the sun for a long time), I had a “sweet” lime soda, freshly made on site. If you ask — and once I heard the word, “sweet”, I most definitely did– to have them drop down the level of sugar added. Our waitress, a wonderfully kind woman, allowed when she brought the drink over, she far preferred the less sweet format, but most visitors are apparently stuck on those cloying sweet beverages. There was just enough sugar to mute down the tartness of the lime, and it was an extremely refreshing beverage.
Service was prompt and attentive, the menu was broad and worth going back for further items — it was hard to make up my mind what to order. My dish and my friend’s dish were seasoned differently — I’ve been to one or two Indian restaurants where it seemed all the sauces were ladled out from the same pot over different vegetables or meats, no matter what the food was named.
Ambiance was comfortable and calming — seating was very comfortable, and there was an attractive plethora of the Hindu pantheon statuary in the side windows. There is also outdoor seating for those so inclined. The restrooms are not easily accessible if you have issues with steep stairs. The website prides itself in being gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian and vegan friendly — options for nearly everyone. The fact that they don’t serve buffet style is in my mind a decided plus — buffet style options tend to cater to what everyone THINKS they may want, rather than towards true cultural exploration of tasty welcome food. (I do love saag paneer, but if picking something more obscure and less likely to be buffet fare from the menu rewards me, I’ll just do saag paneer some other time.)
We gave the restaurant a rating of 4.75, essentially for not being as consistent on amounts of “heat” in menu items. I do wanna go back!