Saturday, January 10, 2009

India Castle

What sets apart a quality Indian restaurant? Indian cuisine, for the better, has become a staple of the eclectic Boston palate. Woe be the day, when there was only one choice for Indian—usually Northern. The subcontinent is an overflowing Tsunami of flavors that jolts to life our bland western palates. Masala (Spice) is Tikhe (good), and Indian Castle provides all the key ingredients for a mouth-watering Indian meal.

So roll up your sleeves, wash your hands and prepare to get messy Indian style[1]. In true Asian tradition, the best way to enjoy India Castle is in a large group with multiple dishes. To begin, there are the wonderful Chaat appetizers such as pakoras, samosas and papads (complimentary with an assortment of sweet, tangy and spicy sauces).

It is deceptively easy to over order at India Castle. For a party of four, we ordered three dishes and still had leftovers. India Castle specializes in North Indian style, but also gives a decent shout out to its South Indian counterparts with such fine feats as Idli Sambar, Dosas and Uttapam. Besides Roti (flat bread), we decided to order two North Indian staples Aloo Chole (Potato and chickpeas infused with in a tomato sauce) and Saag Paneer (chunks of cheese in a spinach puree). Both dishes transcended expectations.

However, truly amazing, is that you can order off menu. If it’s not on the menu, fear not. One of the Palateers was craving a Bhindi Masala (Spicy stir-fried Okra), and although not on the menu, the chef was happy to accommodate (even though Okra is not in season!). Additionally, the Palateers recommend impressing your server by ordering mango pickle, but be prepared as this is an alien taste, which is one part sour, one part tangy and ten parts authentically Indian. Finish off your dining experience with a Raitha (yogurt mixed with chopped vegetables) to balance the palate.

India Castle has a full bar and serves wonderfully large steins of Kingfisher beer (the only beer that shares its name with an airline). Entrees range from $10 to 15. The setting is perfect for parties of four and it never gets so loud that you cannot enjoy a conversation. Fear not the Masala and experience some flair from the subcontinent.

[1] The Palateers recommend the traditional manner of eating Indian with your hands. You get more flavor…really.

India Castle Restaurant & Bar
928 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 864-8100

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