Sunday, October 12, 2008
Flavors of India
26703 Brookpark Rd Ext
North Olmsted, Ohio
Flavors of India is hidden in a nondescript strip mall. It's not even clear from a casual glance that it's a restaurant, except for handmade signs reading, "We serve halal meat," and "Punjabi and Gujarati catering."
Inside, the decor is serene and neutral. The room feels like a family dining room. The thick menu full of colorful photos and the orange cloth napkins belie the budget prices.
Flavors' menu goes beyond the standards. I was surprised to see a page of the Indian street food called chaat. This included several forms of puri, which another reviewer delightfully compares to loaded nachos. Instead of corn tortilla chips, there are hollowed spheres of crispy chickpea batter, topped with potatoes, lentils, onions, yogurt sauce, mint and sweet chutney.
My group began with an assortment of samosas, vegetable pakuras and paneer pakuras. Samosas can be a dissapointment, too greasy or too skimpy on the filling of potatoes and peas, but this platter had the right balance.
The chef at Flavors has two decades of experience at several restaurants in the Washington, DC area. Our server described how all of the sauces are made from fresh ingredients, rather than canned sauce bases. Even a commonplace dish like chicken tikka masala had such a luscious flavor that I kept adding spoonfuls of basmati rice to my plate, the better to soak up the tomatoey sauce. (We didn't order naan, after finishing off our generous appetizer, but we could have used it here.)
We also enjoyed neelgiri korma, boneless chicken in a creamy cilantro-laced sauce with almonds and cashews. The spiciest dish (we asked for "mild" spice in all our dishes) was the navrattan korma, with mixed vegetables, nuts and raisins. ("Nav" means nine, and a navrattan typically contains nine different ingredients.)
You know you've hit on a good restaurant when, sated, you find yourself planning what you'll order next time. As we left, my dining companions were discussing a return visit for the daily lunch buffet ($7.99 weekdays, $9.99 weekends).