Sunday, April 04, 2010

Roseburg Gets Indian Food

Indian food is awesome. It is flavorful and exciting. It is one of those things where you can feed me a bunch of vegetables and no meat and I won't even care. So imagine my excitement when a new Indian restaurant came to Roseburg....

The restaurant is called Flavors of India. They set up shop in an old strip mall where a former employer of mine, Dell, used to reside. It is a small place with a small amount of seating which indicates they are probably expecting mostly take out orders.

I like their food for the most part. I have visited a total of 4 times and I will discuss my impressions. The first visit I had chicken tikka with rice. I was with my dad but unfortunately I have forgotten what he ate. The chicken tikka was served over sauteed onions. The rice was a beautiful yellow color because of the saffron in it. The dish was mild in flavor but overall pleasant. It was good enough that I could easily see myself going back.

The second trip I decided to try chicken tikka masala (which also came with the saffron rice). I ordered it mild because my dad had ordered his dish medium spicy that first trip and he had whined a lot. What I learned was not to do mild. I am a little confused by this though. I have never had anyone ask me my preferred spice level in an Indian restaurant. I have always had the impression that most dishes were centered around all the flavors and not the spice level. This is not the case at this restaurant as I found my mild dish incredibly bland. I also ordered masala tea which was not as good as I had expected from prior experience with the tea. Overall this was a sub par experience and I think it was because I did not go with a medium spice level.

The third time I decided to get takeout. I reverted to my chicken tikka order. This time they asked spice level on this dish which had not been asked the first time. Remembering my mild chicken tikka masala experience was enough to convince me to say medium. The take out order did not come with rice. The medium spice was definitely spicy. In fact it was more hot spicy then I remember ever having chicken tikka. I may be off base but it seemed weird to not have the tikka flavor be more pronounced. Either way this was by far the best experience I had had.

The fourth trip was during lunch time and I had medium chicken tikka on my mind. However, the lunch menu had changed and they had gotten rid of the lunch specials in favor of a buffet. I decided to do the buffet because I have always liked an Indian lunch buffet. The buffet had chicken tandoori, chicken curry, a dal dish, and a few others I have forgotten. The food was all the right temperature and well cooked but the seasoning was non-existent. I was disappointed in the blandness of the food.

My advice for a potential customer of this restaurant. Do eat there because it is tasty but make sure you get it a little spicy and skip the bland lunch buffet.

My advice for the owners.... punch it up! I am not sure why anything would be bland on your menu. I am hoping you are worried that being the first might make you feel the need to be cautious spice wise. I encourage you to bring out more flavor in the mild. There is more then hot spicy that makes Indian food a favorite. It is rich and fantastic but yours seems watered down. It seems bland enough to not offend the locals. I will be back because I do really like the chicken tikka but I am surprised that I could apply the word bland to this particular cuisine.

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