Last week my eating club went to Tandoori Hut on Hampton for our outing. The building was formerly a Pizza Hut and still retains much of that architectural feel. However, the owners have strung gauzy curtains and christmas lights, put in new carpeting and have definitely improved the service. Children would be welcome here. TH does not have a liquor license, but the waiter told us it was more than acceptable to bring in our own. I will also say that prior to our arrival, I called to warn the restaurant that 10 of us would be there and they were SO pleasant and so excited, I could hardly wait to go. So, for an added kick, call ahead and tell them you are coming - the person answering the phone is sure to make you feel welcome before you even get there!
We started off with a mix of appetizers. Disappointingly, there is no mixed app tray, but there are 9 to try. Vegetable Pakora (vegetables dipped in garbanzo bean batter and deep-fried) was very fresh-tasting. Vegetable Samosa (crispy dumplings stuffed with spiced potatoes and green peas) was excellent - the outside was not greasy and the inside was spicy, fragrant, perfumed almost. Both these apps were served with two sauces, one green and minty, one brown and spicy. Tomato soup was likewise outstanding. Lentil soup also received high marks. All of the food was spiced in the most unusual sense - very flavorful and unique but not so hot that you were begging for water. We also ordered baskets of Naan (bread) for the table - half garlic and half plain. The naan was a disappointment to me. I thought it was too thin and burnt. Others, however, enjoyed it.
Entrees were next. Two of us begged the waiter for spicy Tikka Masala. It was presented very low on the hot pole, but had a fresh, homemade, non-creamy taste. The onions and tomatoes were still chunky, not blended. The chunks of smoky, delectable white chicken were amazing. The only problem was that the waiter offered to make it spicier, and to no avail. He did tell us that now that he knows us, he will let the chef make it "hot". If you like spicy, be insistent that they bring it "hot". Tandoori was beautifully magenta-red and came sizzling on a fajita platter with onions and peppers. The people who ordered chicken were unhappy with the all-dark meat platter, which was not disclosed on the menu. Other tandoori eaters were happier. Chicken Vindaloo pleased its eater - he said it was cooked perfectly and it was perfectly spicy. Lamb Sagwala (chicken cooked in herbs and spinach) was delicious. Lamb Vindaloo was good, not great, mostly because it had the same spice problems as the Tikka Masala. Lamb Korma (mild yogurt sauce with almonds and raisins) was interesting. Lamb pieces in all dishes were lovely - big tender chunks. Finally, non-veggie Biryani suffered from bland spicing but had great pieces of shrimp, chicken and lamb.
During dinner, presentation was excellent. Everything came out within reasonable amounts of time and, really, the waiter couldn't have been nicer. The cost was a little bit of a shock - more expensive than most Indian, especially considering serving size and no booze on our bill. However, if you want fresh, healthy Indian food in a casual atmosphere, this is a great place to go. I also recommend the chai tea - we all felt pretty darn good after a cup of that. . .