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Indian -- Tanjore

Tord Svenson | | Dec 27, 1999 06:44 AM

Tanjore is a fairly recent offshoot of the Rangoli Indian Restaurant in Brighton. My wife and I ate there last night. The cuisine is varied and many dishes are identified as to the Indian region they come from.

First though -let me mention that I lived for a few years in London England and explored Indian cuisine there. Later I lived with a cook who taught me how to male Indian dishes. My best friend married an Indian woman and she home cooks - and my best female friend is a native of Bengal.
I like to cook Indian at home and do not rely on commercial preparations for curries, etc. I make my own garam masala and have several variations of this spice mixture. I like to make Vindaloo - a hot dish from Southern India (Goa).

Since the Tanjore features Vindaloo we ordered the chicken version. My wife had a dish from Kerala called Malabar Masala. We had a Peshawari Nan (bread with nuts and raisins), salted Lassi (yogurt drink), and a side dish of mango chutney. The plates were served with basmati rice and the table had a condiment tray with Mint chutney and chopped onions in a hot sauce.
The Vindaloo was good -but not like homemade. It got my nose running -as it is supposed to. The Malabar dish was also good -the lamb was very tender and tasty and the rich brown sauce had a different flavor than we are used to. The Nan was superior to most -the mango chutney appeared to be homemade and was excellent. Our Lassi was very salty and creamy. I prefer the yogurt drink at the Shawarma King in Coolige Corner - but this was pretty good.
We have eaten at the Tanjore previously and the dishes are superior to most other Indian restaurants we have explored. They do a good buffet for lunch - as does the Bombay Club around the corner. If you eat at any Indian buffet ignore the obligatory Tandoori Chicken -it is ALWAYS dry and doesn't have the rich taste it should have. I stick to the sauce dishes -the Saag (spinach) - lentils -the chicken curries - potatoes and peas -the cauliflower -etc.

The Tanjore has a fascinating menu - some of listings are as follows -
Balti Chicken from Kashmir - Chicken Chetinad from South India --- Keema Kothmir from Hyderabad --- Shrimp No Paatio from Bombay. -Gobi Charchari from Bengal --- Aloo Chole from Sindhi.

One different listing is for Nashta -a sort of Indian tapas -smaller dishes of great variety. Tanjore has a long list. They also specialize in Dosas -Indian stuffed crepes.

The prices are in line with most Indian restaurants.
We walked around a cold and quiet Harvard Square after our meal -happy as two kids who had spent an hour in India.

Tanjore is located just off Harvard Square next to the Kennedy School. The address is 18 Eliot Street, Cambridge 617/868-1900. They do take-outs and deliver for free around the Harvard Square area. The staff is attentive -and when they sent us a plain Nan instead of the nut filled version, they told us to enjoy it and then brought us the version we asked for a few minutes later - gratis. The decor is nice -wooden (teak?) carvings and unique tapestries.

However - the food is the main attraction and Tanjore is a find for those who love good Indian cuisine.

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