We dined at TM a few weeks back and have this report:
First off, a great BYOB policy. I think it was comped or maybe a $5 corkage... there's a serviceable liquor store right around the corner on Queens Blvd. A $10 bottle of 2002 riesling was a nice accompaniment.
This is a quaint, "niche" type restaurant, that you really want to love. Impressions of the dishes are as follows:
LOLLIPOP CHICKEN. served with an orange-pepper sauce. Overall just "unremarkable", with or w/o the sauce. As another poster had mentioned they seem more highly battered than in his previous visits. My GF thought there was chicken fat or skin in the lollipop also. In the LolliChicken thread below there's a picture of LP at an Indian restaurant that at least LOOKS far more appealing than what we had at Tangra Masala...
CHICKEN PAKORAS. served with a mild green chili relish. Probably the favorite dish of the evening and could be "mildly" recommened. Rather bland but not-unpleasant pakoras.
CHICKEN AND CORN SOUP: Bland but satisfying. Unremarkable
THAI SPICY SHRIMP SOUP: Kind of a version of TomYom Shrimp. Good taste. Presentation suffers from too much "floating oil" due to the use of chili oil for heat in this soup. A version a few days earlier at Sripraphai is probably a bit better but in itself leaves much to be desired ( see recent Sriraphai thread).
TANGRA MASALA CHOW MEIN: Of minor interest. It looks well-prepared but there's this reeking aroma of cooking gas that my GF called a "fuel taste". Not only in the taste but also aroma, this could be "TM Chow Mein in Propane Sauce". At first I ignored it and thought, "okay this is a cuisine with an 'earthy' spice tradition..." or "... this is Indian sidwalk cooking cuisine with an earthy aroma..." but this fuel scent wouldn't impress in India anymore than Queens.
TANGRA MASALA CHICKEN WITH BLAZING GRAVY: Interesting service in sort of a bubbling tandoori plate. Taste is quite earthy but in the final analysis unremarkable and there's those annoying and unforgiveable "cooking fuel" backnotes again.
The room is nicely furnished, we found the wait staff very accomodative but overall perhaps only the Chicken Pakora would we be interested in having again.
The soups we think might be a strength of this restaurant and the $5.95 or 6.95 lunch special looks REAL REASONABLE as long as you don't get the propane sauce.
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