Restaurant Review: Tadka Indian

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Tadka Indian is yet another entry in the burgeoning Indian restaurant sweepstakes. In this case, the upscale, lavishly decorated eatery near the Sawmill Road corridor is a full-service establishment with an elaborate menu.

The chain also has restaurants in Cleveland, Atlanta and Chicago. The Central Ohio franchisees also own the nearby Inchin restaurant franchise.

Professional touches abound -- such as a large carafe of water left on each table so that thirsty patrons don't have to depend on the server's attention.

Less-than-professional touches include a server's hands awash with the jarring scent of after-shave lotion -- and servers touching their faces and noses or coughing into hands and handling glasses by the rim.

Also annoying: Some servers offer mild, medium or hot spicing, but others don't bother asking and order everything on the mild side. If you're fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to choose, note that the "medium" can be fairly fierce.

The large menu has some unusual items, such as the bhindi-amchur appetizer ($5), a way of preparing okra to which no one should object: The pods are shredded lengthwise, dipped in a very light batter and deep-fried. Once put on a plate, the deliciously fried strips are given a dusting of tart herbs.

Another uncommon appetizer essentially consists of crisply fried potato cakes (aloo moti tikki, $4), enriched with cheese and mildly seasoned.

The mulligatawny soup ($3) is a fairly thin puree of lentils with diced mango and apple -- lightly spiced, easy to eat. The other soup, a tomato-and-citrus birbali sorba ($3), is also quite thin, with a mild cumin flavor.

The seekh kebabs are available in a somewhat-salty vegetarian version ($11). The kebabs are made of minced and ground dried legumes plus fresh peas, carrot strips and onion, and formed around skewers. The effective tandoori ovens provide an appetizing searing, and the split-pea nuttiness shines through.

The ovens do an equally good job of roasting the garlic nan flatbread ($3), which is lighter in texture than most other versions.

The murgh methi ($13) is a well-done curry treatment of boneless cubes of chicken that features fenugreek, among other spices. A creamy sauce of ground cashews and tomato, with moderate heat and complexity, provides seasoning.

Another curry, which includes fenugreek but also curry leaves and hints of coconut, bathes chunks of tilapia (Goan machchi, $16).

Biryanis are given a great presentation. The rice-based entrees are baked in a metal serving dish sealed with a layer of fresh dough.

To eat, one must puncture the hat of golden-brown crust with a spoon and lift out the rice -- and, in the case of the murgh biryani ($13), the whole pieces of bone-in chicken, nicely fragrant with mace and the florally aromatic kewra.

Raita, a yogurt sauce, makes a good accompaniment for the biryanis. Tadka offers one seasoned with cucumber, tomato and onion (hare masaley ka raita, $3), with an unusually sweet background.

Tadka is awaiting the final paperwork on its full liquor license.

Tadka Indian

3535 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., Dublin


Hours: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; 5-10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday