Wednesday, June 04, 2008

India Oven : Hartford

Streaks aren't such a good thing when it comes to windows or underwear, but when it refers to finding good restaurants, es bueno, my amigo.

Ignoring my second Somewhere in Bangkok and the random Lenny & Joe's dining experiences, which weren't really planned restaurant trial affairs, India Oven makes for the third in a row dining outing that was just plain great. In Hartford, this is quite the feat.

I had been wanting to try India Oven for some time now, based on some chowhound recommendations and more recently, the fact that it was voted 2008 Hartford Advocate's Reader Poll's 2nd favorite Indian Restaurant.

So my gf and I meander down to their West Hartford location and order the India Oven Special Dinner (for 2), which was composed of:

Shrimp Tandoori, Chicken Tandoori, Chicken Tikaa and Boti kabab all served on a sizzling platter of saute'ed onions and green peppers. This was lovely. Now, parts of the meat, onions and green peppers were blackened, which have always meant that the food tastes like charcoal and/or is as dry as filling your mouth with cotton balls. But here the meat (chicken in particular) was still quite juicy, tender and flavorful. This was actually the first time that I enjoyed grilled/blackened food.

Lamb Curry was solid as well. The meat was quite tender and the curry, fairly standard but still delicious.

The Naan was humbly great. It was most definitely freshly made, as it was still warm and had a great crunchiness to some of the thinner parts. Secondly, it lacked the greasy butteriness that most Indian places tend towards, which made it less sexy, but we definitely appreciated this drier and less ick-inducing texture.

And lastly and not pictured was the kheer dessert.

I also ordered a salti lassi, which was prickly with spices as it should be.

The most surprising thing about eating here was that neither of us walked out feeling sickenly full as we usually do walking out of Indian restaurants. Now we did have a minimal amount of leftovers, but our general feeling was that the dishes seemed a lot lighter than most other Indian restaurants.

And it's this commitment to cooking tasty food without resorting to grease that I really responded to and which I suspect is a reason why this place is a favorite of others.

280 Park Rd West Hartford, CT 06119 (map)
($Hartford, $Indian, $Recommended)

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