Last night I was treated to a lovely dinner after a day of shopping and various festivities, and after some debating, decided on Indian food in Northampton. Now, I've been raised on Darbar India, some of the finest Indian cuisine I've ever had, in my own hometown of Branford, Connecticut, and was excited to see if this could rival my own.
We ordered a smorgasbord of food, starting with the quintessential samosas, stuffed with potatoes and peas. The peas were few and far between, which was good, but I found the samosas to be sparsely stuffed, leaving the bulk of the flavor to rely on the dough, which was oily. Being fried, I wasn't necessarily objecting to this, but I did expect the potatoes to provide a buffer and absorbant for the translucent wrapper of the samosa. The potatoes themselves were fluffy and not as chunky, more of a whipped mashed potato than pieces of potato, but by no means undercooked. A little more spices would have gone a long way, especially in the curry area. Not a bad appetizer, as it was filling and tided us over to the main course.
The two of us decided on the chicken tikka masala for our main course, with rice, along with some bread, a paneer naan with homemade cheese, which I unfortunately lack a photo of. The paneer bread was decent, but lacked the buttery puffiness of the naan that I'm used to and was too crispy.
There really wasn't enough cheese to justify calling it a paneer bread, and it was a little sparse. It was also too crispy. For some, this may be an asset, but for us, it really wasn't reliable or tasty, as there were too many burnt edges to take off when we would have rather had softer bread.
However, the chicken tikka masala was phenomenal. It was spicier than many tikkas that I have had, which balanced well with the creaminess of the sauce. There was a great tomato sauce base, and none of it was watery. The chicken was so tender. It looked like it would fall apart as soon as you looked at it. It was juicy and flavorful, having absorbed all the spices from the sauce, and was all good pieces of meat. It went well with the rice and was a great main course with our meal.
Overall, a good meal. Any criticism is that they sort of tack on some unnecessary prices, where in other Indian restaurants, I've had similar amenities for free, like the assorted chutneys and crackers, and the gulub jamun at the end of the meal.
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