Last week I was set on trying out the Kooper's Chowhound Burger Wagon - who claim the best burgers in Baltimore (of course, I'll be the judge of that) - as it stationed itself in Hampden. About 12:30 I parked, walked, then got back in the car and drove around in the rain looking for this burger wagon, to no avail (perhaps the Chowhounders were sick, as "tweets" over the weekend seem to suggest).
So with no hope of burgers, I headed around town to finish other errands. Said errands took me out to Essex, and on the way back I avoided an accident and hit Joppa Road. It had dawned on me that an Indian restaurant I even missed during my Beltway Snacking series had been sitting on Joppa Road, beckoning to me from the Beltway.
Why does the phrase "COMMMMME to Butthead" rattle around in my brain right now? Oh well...
Kitchen of India is, maybe, one of the last Indian restaurants in the area that I hadn't gotten around to trying out. So with time and a hankering for South Asian cooking, I pulled into the parking lot. The $7.95 price tag didn't hurt either.
After ordering a water, I set to the buffet, a slightly smaller than average one. But most of the standards were there, with varying, though generally better than not, results:
- The onion relish and tamarind & coriander chutneys were good, and complemented the food well. I stuffed a lot of the onion relish into the naan bread that the waitress delivered to me about five minutes into the meal.
- Oh, the naan was soft and warm.
- The basmati rice and pulao did not feel like they had been sitting around all day, which shows that they're paying attention to their product.
- The generic chicken curry was not terribly spicy, and the chicken was particularly dry - odd since the chicken curry was in a sauce. It was extremely forgettable.
- In contrast, the chicken tikka masala was one of the better ones I've had at a buffet, in a nice, slightly buttery masala sauce. And I don't know what happened but this chicken was as moist and tender as the chicken in that curry was dry and stringy.
- Likewise, the tandoori chicken, a must-try, was much better than most I have eaten. Typically you will find buffets filled with somewhat bland tandoori chicken that tastes underseasoned and feels overcooked. This is why I rarely even bother with tandoori chicken when I eat at Indian buffets. But the tandoori chicken here was quite good, with a nice tangy, smoky flavor, a tasty spice blend and a tender and moist texture. Has my faith in tandoori chicken been restored?
- The kheer rice pudding was more liquidy than most I have had - and they usually are liquidy. Not a favorite.