Good Eating Section
October 01, 2005
By Rose Murphy
Taste of Tandoor
named for special oven used to prepare
you're tired of your everyday fare
and want to experience a food that's
delicious, exotic and reasonably
priced, you'll want to dine at taste
of Tandoor at 13836 Smoketown Rd.
in Smoketown Plaza.
Dave Mathur, owner/manager, shops
for the groceries himself. His brother,
Anil, came from India three years
ago and is the chef. Dhan Bgurung,
a Nepal native, is in charge of the
dining room and also is a chef.
Mathur explained his restaurant
features Northern Indian cooking
from the area around New Delhi, the
On a recent visit he sat with my
husband, Jim, and me and introduced
us to a sampling of food from his
country. The menu lists the various
offerings and includes a helpful
description of the dish for those
unfamiliar with Indian cuisine.
Our meal began with mango lassi,
a creamy vanilla-colored beverage
made from yogurt and mango pulp and
served in a goblet. Cost is $2.95.
Delicious is an understatement.
For an appetizer we tried the assorted
platter, which included vegetable
samosas, murg tikka and mixed vegetable
pakora. The samosas are vegetable
turnovers filled with potatoes, green
peas, cumin and spices. Murg tikka
is pieces of boneless chicken breast,
which have been marinated in yogurt,
herbs and spices. The vegetable pakora
is fresh vegetable fritters.
The assorted platter is priced at
$6.95, but the items are available
individually for $2.95 or $3.95 an
order. The menu features several
entrees under tandoori specialties,
Chicken specialties, vegetarian specialties
and lamb specialties. All are served
with basmati rice pulao.
Mathur explained that most entrees
are "normally spiced. But if
the customer prefers, the chef will
be only too happy to make the selection
mild, hot or Indian hot."
He said the tandoor is a clay oven,
and that all meats, poultry and seafood
are put in special marinades then
skewered and broiled in the tandoor.
The oven also is used to make the
fresh bread served in the restaurant.
Next we got to taste the reshmi
kabobs and the salmon tandoori. The
kabob platter features boneless pieces
of white chicken. Lemon juice and
herbs are added and then the chicken
is charbroiled. This entree is priced
My husband said the salmon tandoori
was probably the best salmon he'd
ever eaten. It is two fresh filets
of salmon, marinated in yogurt and
spices and charbroiled in the tandoor.
I tried the fish, and it literally
melted in your mouth. An absolute
delight at $12.95.
Mathur also had us try the butter
chicken and the palakb paneer. He
explained the butter chicken only
has a little butter in the traditional
tomato sauce. "It's called butter
chicken because of the consistency
of the sauce," the owner said.
It is a chef's specialty at $11.95.
The palakb paneer is a combination
of fresh spinach and homemade cottage
cheese cooked with ginger and rare
spices. It also was a delicious choice
and priced at $9.95.
The rogan josh lamb specialty at
$12.95 was also a winner. It featured
tender pieces of boneless, fresh
lamb cooked in a yogurt-based creamy
curry sauce, and finished off with
a blend of spices.
Mathur explained that no Indian
meal is complete without bread. We
tried the naan, a fine flour bread,
and puri, a whole wheat bread that's
deep fried and puffed.
And then came the desserts. We sampled
the gulab jamun and the gajar halwa.
The gulab jamun is a milk dumpling
soaked in honey. The gajar halwa
is a carrot dessert flavored with
cardamom and laced with pistachio
nuts and raisins. Both were excellent.
Each was priced at $2.95.
We finished off the meal with chai
masala, which was the best and most
flavorful tea I've ever tasted. Mathur
said it includes green cardamom,
cloves, ginger, cinnamon "and
other spices." it is served
hot at $2.
There are several other interesting
looking entrees I have my eye on
for next time. And a dessert I want
to sample is mango kulti, described
as a traditional Indian ice cream
flavored with mango and cardamom.
If it's anything like the mango lassi
drink, it will be a wonderful treat.
The Taste of Tandoor also features
a daily lunch buffet al $7.95 Monday
through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to
2:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday
from 11:30 until to 3 p.m.
Dinner hours are Sunday through
Thursday from 5 to 9:30 p.m. and
Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10
Mathur also owns and operates two
other Indian restaurants with a third
to open in the Spring. There's a
Guru Indian Cuisine at 1320 Central
Park Blvd. across from Funland in
Central Park shopping center in Fredericksburg
and another Guru Indian Cuisine at
315 Garrisonville Rd., suite 109,
Stafford. For information call 703-897-7200.
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