After a positive review by Greg Cox of the N&O we decided to try Azithra this weekend. What the hell was Greg talking about? Okay, the restaurant itself is really cool. The cocktails we had at the bar we great. It was wonderful that they had a live sitar player playing music. But that is all the good things I have to say about this place. For our app we ordered the assorted app plate. The pakoras were undercooked in the middle, the samosa only had a potato filling (put some peas and peanuts in, please), and the bits of tandoori chicken were bland. For dinner, we ordered vegetable koftas, makhani paneer, and crab masala. All three dishes came out is a familiar tandoori orange color and tasted prety much the same too. Oh wait, I'll say one more nice thing, the dessert we ordered, which was layers of carrot pudding, golab jamun, and vanilla ice cream was delicious.
The place was packed so I can forgive the uncooked pakoras, but the homogeneity of the dishes is unexcusable. This experience supports m contention that Indian food does not lend itself to a la carte ordering off the menu. Indian food takes time to prepare, a lot of slow cooking is involves to properly make curries. What I'd like to see instead is an Indian restaurant that cooked a handful of dishes well and then had a prix fixe menu. But I don't know if a prix fixe model would be accepted by American diners.
I'm sticking with Sitar in Durham...
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