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Taste of India fails to match Kabob and Curry quality

With dishes lacking traditional complex flavors, the restauant does naan warrant the trip down the hill

The temptation to draw a comparison with local icon Kabob and Curry threatens to color perceptions of any other Indian food on College Hill, and in visiting Taste of India on Wickenden Street, it’s hard not to judge the restaurant solely in relation to Sunday mornings in the Blue Room. While Kabob and Curry may not be the best  model for Indian cuisine, the sheer volume of its presence on campus sets it as the standard.

Unfortunately, Taste of India does not live up to the bar set by its Thayer Street counterpart. Though its dishes are satisfactory for the most part, none are exceptional enough to warrant a stand-alone trip to the restaurant.

The dining room has an inviting but small interior with deep red walls decorated with ornate golden patterns, which create a warm and pleasant — if ultimately unoriginal and mundane — atmosphere.

A starting order of mango lassis arrive at the table sweeter than they are savory, appealing more as a smoothie than the traditional yogurt-based drink. But in contrast, the garlic and cilantro naan bread demonstrates a perfect blend of crispness, warmth and dough. It retains a significant garlic flavor without falling being overwhelming, as garlic all too often is.

The butter chicken is rich and filling, though it lacks a depth of flavor. Barbecued and then cooked in a tandoor, the chicken is served in a tomato and honey sauce. At its best, the dish traditionally offers a complex array of flavors, wandering between spicy, savory and sweet, with judiciously employed spices subtly playing off each other in every bite. Taste of India’s butter chicken, in contrast, seems monotone — none of its constituent parts emerge from among the melee of the rest. Overall, it is a fairly average rendition.

Madras chicken, on the other hand, is appropriately spicy, and it couples well with the mango lassi. Made with hot and spicy curry and accented with chilies and mustard seeds, the consistency seems almost granular, with an unappealing texture. Still, it maintains a wider breadth of flavor than the butter chicken.

If you happen to be on Wickenden and strongly desire Indian food, especially the kind that has been thoroughly Americanized and simplified to its most rudimentary parts, then visit Taste of India. But outside of those circumstances, you’re better off staying on Thayer.


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