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Agra Tandoori--dissenting opinion

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Agra Tandoori--dissenting opinion

lucia | Mar 27, 2003 09:48 AM

Last night we got a lot of take-away from Agra Tandoori, the new incarnation on Route 9, south of Rhinebeck. I was sooo disappointed, as I really wanted to like the place and actually have a choice in the vicinity.

I know they're new, so I won't get into the service aspects, but the food was truly ungood.

First, the nan is definitely the store-bought variety, warmed up, not freshly cooked in a tandoor. We tried two kinds--plain and peshwari. Both were flat and leaden. You might think that's because it took awhile to get them home, but we get fresh nan in Red Hook all the time and it retains its smokey, crispy, soft-inside, fluffy freshness just fine.

The samosas have a filo-type wrapper instead of the traditional yogurt-shortcrust and were very oily and soggy with no spice. They were, strangely, packed on top of wet green salad (a decoration?) to travel, which didn't help, though I did stick them in a hot oven before we ate. They were okay, but more like decent knishes than samosas.

Mulligatawny Soup: This was unlike any I've had before, coconut based and pale yellow with a load of rice, no spices, and a piece of lemon. It had hardly any flavor and felt really thrown together.

The only dal on offer was based on black lentils and kidney beans and had none of the roasty, toasty, spicy complexity of the tarka dal at the Curry House, which has fresh coriander and whole dried chillies and pieces of browned garlic, and I could eat that stuff all day.

Shrimp Jalfreze and a so-called fish curry were exactly the same, except one had some frozen okra thrown in. I didn't see any fish in the fish curry. They were both very coconut-milk based, with no acid to balance (tomato, lemon, vinegar, anything would have helped). Really thick and sweet. The shrimp had their tails on, which is terribly awkward in a saucy curry. We had a chicken vindaloo, too. Again, way too sweet and mild and all the dishes had the same spicing problem of over-use of curry leaves and asofetida, with no heat or depth, and too much bad garam masala. The end result was like eating hippie incense.

In general, I love all Indian foods, especially those that are uniquely, strongly spiced and stand in contrast to each other.

Maybe I ordered the wrong stuff? Maybe they ran out of ingredients? Maybe the tandoor wasn't working? The six or so people there were eating from a buffet, so maybe the chef was distracted by keeping that going?

Even if one dish was a stand-out, I'd go back, but after the meal, I felt all weird and overfed without any of the endorphin-laced satisfaction a really good curry should induce. Boo hoo.

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