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Ethnic Restaurant Report, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 868

Essay

For this assignment, I chose to patronize the “Curry Pot” restaurant in Tallahassee. The Curry Pot serves a wide variety of traditional dishes from Northern India, as well as a number of sides, beverages, and desserts that are more familiar to American customers. The Curry Pot uses traditional Indian seasonings for most of their dishes, many of which are often very hot and spicy by Western standards. For those who wish to eat at the Curry Pot, but do not like food that is overly hot and spicy, the restaurant offers less-spicy options by request.

I chose one of the first items on the entrée menu, the Tandoori Chicken. The ertm “tandoori” comes from the root word “tandoor,” a traditional clay over used for cooking. Various types of dishes are prepared using a tandoor, including dishes based on lamb, chicken, or vegetarian items. Tandoor dishes are typically prepared with a mixture of spices called “masala,” which is, as noted, often very spicy. I was told that the dish I ordered was not very spicy, though it turned out to be much hotter than I expected; I found the heat from this dish almost overpowered the other flavors at first at first.

As I continued to eat it, however, I actually began to get used to the heat, and then to enjoy it. The sauce used to marinate the chicken is a blend of yogurt and masala, and is somewhat thicker than a more-familiar gravy that might be served with a Western chicken dish. I could taste the texture of the marinade as I bit into the chicken. I actually ended up having a little bit of the dish left to take home, which made for a nice snack the following day. The chicken was very tender, and it was obvious that it had been marinated before being cooked. The chicken pieces had a slight pinkish-orange color, appearing as if they had taken on the color of the marinade and sauce during preparation.

My dining companion chose the Goat Curry dish. Thiss dish is prepares differently than the Tandoori Chicken; it is sautéed in a large pan over a hot stove. The masala for this dish is made by blending ingredients such as onion, tomato, chili powder, garlic, and curry powder in a sauté pan with oil, and then adding chunks of goat meat to the masala for the final cooking. The results were served on a fairly large china plate, and this dish was far less spicy than the Chicken dish, even though there was no request made to reduce the heat levels. I tried a piece of the goat meat, and found it to be a little bit stringy in texture, though it was still tender enough to chew easily. The flavor of the masala was evident, but it did not permeate the meat the way the Tandoori masala did.

Both dishes were served with rice, though the rice that came with the Goat Curry also had peas in it. The rice that was served with the Tandoori Chicken was also different color, and appeared to have been seasoned with saffron or some other spice that gave it that color. The rice itself was different from traditional American white rice, as it was larger, and shaped a bit differently. It is difficult to say whether it tastes differently, though, as it was heavily seasoned and had little bits of herbs and other items mixed in. The Curry Pot does not have any side dishes on its menu; it seems as if each dish is intended to stand alone in that regard. It was certainly enough food, as both of us had leftovers to take home.

According to our server, all of the main menu items are traditional Indian dishes. It is on the beverage menu that more Westernized options are found; the restaurant serves regular soft drinks, iced tea, and milk, along with chai tea and various smoothies and milk shakes.  For dessert, they serve rice pudding and other traditional options, along with mango or pistachio ice cream. We were so full from lunch, however, that we did not add dessert to our meal.

The place was surprisingly busy for a late afternoon, and appeared to be slightly understaffed, so we were unable to spend much time speaking with the staff. Our server indicated that we could try calling to speak to a manger about the menu, but our primary questions had already been answered. According to her, the only concessions the restaurant made to Western tastes were regarding the spice levels of the various dishes, and the options for soft drinks (although they are, of course, now available as easily in India as they are here). I did not expect to enjoy my meal as much as I did, primarily because of the spicy factor, but I actually loved it, and will definitely eat there again. The prices are reasonable; the whole bill came to about $35 for the two of us, and we each had enough left over for a small second meal. Eating lunch at Applebee’s or some other chain restaurant would have cost about the same, and we were able to eat a much more interesting and unusual meal.

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