Review: India Palace

This favorite of Indian food devotees has moved to a new spot on Dorsett Road near Highway 270. For years, an exhaustive menu and strong flavors have given India Palace a spot in the local ethnic food Hall of Fame.

Vegetarian dishes (29 of them!) span everything from cheese balls in mint sauce to spinach and mushrooms in cream. There are red-baked tandoori meals and 12 different Indian bread choices. If goat is your thing, it, too, is plentiful here. Best of all, the sauces are flavorful and distinct from each other. Herbs, spices, yogurt, tomato sauce and cream dominate the various dishes.

A starter of Chicken Pakora ($5.50) yielded delicate white-meat strips deep-fried in chickpea batter—a little oily, but a lot delicious and with a definite bite of heat. And all of the chicken we sampled was remarkably moist, even the white meat cubes baked in the tandoori clay oven. Do not miss the Onion Kulcha, a traditional soft naan bread stuffed with herbs and soft-cooked onions. Chewy and moist, it is delicious.

For a different take on the popular Indian bread, we ordered Kashmiri Naan ($3.95). We were intrigued by its description of pistachios, cashews and cherries. Tinted slightly red from the cherries, the delectable pull-apart dough was stuffed with ground nuts and was simply delightful. I can’t say enough about the Mulgatani (most commonly spelled Mulligatawny) Soup ($3.95), with its rich, brown broth stuffed with lentils, basmati rice and cubes of delicate, orange-tinged tandoori chicken meat. It has a slight bite that only enhances its appeal.

Immersed in brown sauce, Dal Lamb ($16.95) was awash in Indian flavors and the hearty starch of lentils. The lamb was nicely cooked to yield soft, tender meat—not the chewy, tough shoulder meat you sometimes get. Similarly, the traditional Chicken Tikka Masala ($16.95) had wonderfully moist, white-meat chunks swimming in a tomato-based sauce.

Tandoori meals are baked dry in a clay oven and done very well here. The Fish Tandoori ($18.95) was baked a little too dry, but the chicken version ($13.95), with a breast and a leg, was superb. Served in a cast iron skillet over a bed of slivered onions, the chicken picked up the delicate mesquite flavors used in the oven, as well as a hint of its yogurt marinade. Another tandoori dish, Seekh Kabab ($17.95) was among the best I’ve tasted. The minced lamb balls were moist and less gamey than others I’ve had. Perhaps the star of the show, though, were the Tandoori Jumbo Prawns ($24), large shrimp dotted with garlic and oil and deliciously tender.

A veggie offering of Aloo Baingan ($12.95) had eggplant and potatoes in a marvelous sauce of spices. The starchy potatoes mixed well with the softened eggplant, which yielded a creamy consistency that enhanced the drier tandoori dishes.

amuse bouche
the scene | Attractive Indian restaurant
the prices | $3.50-$4.95 starters, $11.95-$24 entrees
the chef | Tony Singh
the favorites | Onion Kulcha, Kashmiri Naan, Tandoori Jumbo Prawns, Mulgatani Soup, Chicken Pakoras, Aloo Baingan (eggplant and potato)

food • ŏ • lō • gy
tandoor | Clay oven or pit used to cook meats at a very high temperature. Typically, meat is marinated in yogurt, which holds in the flavors, seals in natural juices and contributes to the orange color imparted by cayenne, ginger and other spices.
naan | Indian flatbread made from maida, an Indian flour. It also includes yogurt and/or milk to yield a soft, elastic texture.
mulligatawny soup | Its name in Tamil means ‘pepper water.’ It’s made with a base of chili peppers and other spices, to which rice and lentils are added. It became popular with the British during the Raj.

Pictured above: Tandoori chicken-tender chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, broiled over mesquite wood in a tandoor with green peppers, onions and lemons.

12322 dorsett road | 314.731.3333