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Restaurants & Bars 17

Spice Flight Dinner at Turmerik, Sunnyvale

Melanie Wong | Jun 8, 200305:17 AM

Last year, I’d asked Vince for a tour of the drinking and eating establishments on Sunnyvale’s Murphy Avenue restaurant row. We finally got around to the first installment. Part 5 of the roving birthday celebration landed at Turmerik, which he had tried several times before.

His raves for Turmerik and Alexandra’s birthday dinner post ([BROKEN LINK REMOVED]) had framed my expectations. Teed up this way, my first impressions, frankly, were let-downs.

Several things have changed over the last year. To show the deep hole Turmerik had to rise up from in my estimation, I’ll describe the negatives first. On week nights, dinner is served at a small number of tables in the bar’s lounge area and not in the larger upstairs dining room. The hostess said they felt it was “cozier” in the lounge. To me it was too dark and closed in and within ear shot of the back door clanging each time someone entered from the parking lot. When I handed the hostess a bottle of white wine for the bartender to chill, she acted like I had given her a rotten fish. I had been looking forward to having the venison chop tandoori and was disappointed that it was no longer on the menu. To take the edge off while we decided on our main choices, we’d quickly ordered the crab cakes, a new item on the menu. It was well-conceived with a crackly crisp vermicelli coating, but was disappointingly starchy within and lacking in crab flavor. All that said, as soon as we were in our own server’s hands and the rest of our meal started to appear, all was soon forgiven.

We decided to order the prix fixe Spice Flight menu – one vegetarian, and one not. Each dish featured spices, aromatics and seasonings that are the core of Indian cooking. With each course, silvery bowls of the central spices were presented too for us to smell, touch and taste. Show below, on the left side are the curry leaves, cloves and black cardamom pods used in our soup course. On the right are green cardamom pods and saffron incorporated in the kulfi dessert. I really enjoyed this educational component.

The Chef’s Special Spice Flight available through May 31 included:

Vegetarian, $24 per person

Papdi Chaat
Tomato Shorba
Paneer Makhani
Spinach with Mushrooms

Non Vegetarian, $29 per person

Crab Masala
Coconut-Chile Shrimp Soup
Chicken Makhani
Spinach with Mushrooms

Lentils, saffron rice, and rosemary naans accompanied each menu. A tasting of four wines and a port to compliment the dishes was offered for an additional $20 per person, but we had brought our own wines and did not order this supplement.



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