Restaurants & Bars 39

Review: Mint Leaf Open and Full

Icantread | Mar 12, 200810:25 AM

We made it over to the Mint Leaf on a whim yesterday and found it quite full. We were quite excited about having an Indian restaurant nearby with pedigree. Unfortunately, the meal fell quite short.

The place itself is nice, being the previous Restaurant Brana space. Clean white with a high sloping ceiling and some dark wood accenting the wall I faced. Also some "tapestries" (for lack of the right word. . .those small carpets people hang on walls) added to the look. More of a modern design than cozy: copper tinged concrete floor, sparsely decorated,very clean, and you're cocooned in the noise from all the conversations going on around you.

Service itself was subpar. Sloooowwww. We asked for the bill after the main course and wrapped that up quickly but were still there close to two hours. The server brought me a bucket for my wine and then told me I could stick it in there if I wanted. I proceeded to dig it in. That being said, the servers were very friendly and some were on their A game as far as etiquette is concerned.

The meal was the worst part of the whole experience. I can forgive just about anything barring outright rudeness for a good meal. We started with an order of the Keeba Samosas (Lamb stuffed), which came with chickpeas in a sauce. The samosas had a good thin, crispy dough but were stuffed pretty much just with ground lamb. The biggest comment I can make of the food overall was that it was all one-note. That complexity of spiced and aromatic flavors key to Indian cuisine was completely missing from start to finish. Chickpeas were good though.
Mrs. ICR chose the Mint Leaf Kofta and I chose the Lamb Rogan Josh for dinner. The lamb tasted very familiar, like a cross between a Cuban Carne Asada and Cuban Lamb shank in a wine sauce. Cilantro sprinkled over the top was the only difference. again, no depth of flavor. I will say that it was good, but not something you would order from an Indian restaurant. The rogan josh's I've had were intensely flavored and spicy. If Indian food tastes Cuban, it's missing a whole lot of peppers. The Kofta sauce was sweetly aromatic, but the balls themselves tasted of freezer. I will leave it at that. we also had a bread basket with the meal (originally asked for two naan and the server said he'd bring the basket instead. did not realize it was $10, but that was on the menu so mea culpa) and rice was also separate (a whopping 3.50 for a bowl of nondescript white. they made 3.49 on each of those).

Basically I won't be going back. Indian food will be limited to Northward hikes or the home kitchen. Very unfortunate and disappointing. A good Indian restaurant so centrally located would do great. For now, House of India ranks above, because even if the food is not consistently great, at least you feel like you ate Indian food when you left.

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