As a big fan of Indian cuisine, I’ve been more than happy to see Reno’s share of subcontinent tastes increase substantially in recent times. I say the more, the merrier, and Taste of India is a welcome addition to the scene.
The restaurant focuses on northwestern Punjabi recipes, but several other styles are included on the expansive menu of chicken, lamb, seafood, goat and vegetarian dishes. If anything, the only issue with a menu this inclusive is the time it takes for a customer to make a selection. It all sounds so good.
Spices, including coriander, cumin, cardamom, fennel, black pepper, mustard, clove, and both hot and mild chili pepper were well represented. We breathed them in with anticipation from the parking lot, then noted the scent embedded in our clothes on our return home. It’s an experience that keeps on giving.
Lentil papadum crisps—always a favorite with my family—made for a traditional start. They were served with tamarind, mint and garlic sauces, and a request for seconds was filled quickly and in tripled quantity. The only downside might be the risk of stunting one’s appetite for the meal. Thankfully, we came hungry and ordered everything hot and spicy.
An appetizer of aloo tikki ($4.95)—crispy potato patties stuffed with vegetables and spices, topped with chana masala of green pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, chickpea, tomato—was served with dollops of tamarind, mint and garlic sauces. It was sweet and spicy and a great intro to the rest of our order.
A couple dishes of basmati rice were delivered in complement to the saucy dishes, along with orders of garlic naan ($2.55) and special naan ($3.95) flatbreads. The garlic was crispy and perfect, while the special—stuffed with ginger, garlic, onion and Spanish and Indian spices—was a meal on its own merits. The menu includes six types of bread with 18 variations, possibly the most I’ve encountered.
The mix of spinach, spices and cheese that is saag paneer ($9.95) sounds simple enough. Way back when, a first taste of this dish was my gateway to enjoying cooked greens in general. I’ve never had a meal of Indian food without trying the house take on spinach with fresh cheese cubes and spices. I can say without hyperbole, this was the best I’ve ever had. Even my wife, who is generally indifferent toward the dish, was totally into it.
An order of classic dal makhani ($9.95)—simmered black lentils sauteed with onion, tomato, garlic and ginger—was equally good. My wife makes a pretty good version of this at home, but she’s going to have to up her game to achieve this level.
Korma dishes were my entry into Indian food. The classic dish of meat cubes simmered in yogurt sauce with spices, onion and tomato is accessible and comforting. Our lamb korma ($12.95) featured tender cubes of meat and a creamy sauce, but it was strikingly sweeter than any I’ve had—not bad, just very different. If cinnamon-sweet lamb sounds inviting, you’ll love it.
Better was shrimp masala ($13.95), with tender, perfectly cooked shrimp in creamy butter and tomato sauce with lots of vegetables. It was rich and decadent and delicious. Rounding things out with a boozy, tasty bang was the majedar special chicken ($12.95), made with ginger, garlic, onion, chili pepper, spices, and a shot of whiskey. Pow!