CoroMandel, It's Baingan...No Really It's Indian
Indian Food and I get along very well. What's there not to like? Spice + vegetables + sauce + spice = delicious. I've frequented many many Indian cuisine establishments. To be honest some of my tasting experiences between the different spots have merge together because, as you would expect, the flavors are all very similar to one another. Some have better gobi, others have tastier naan, while some have Indian cuisine that just looks and smells better. What will not coagulate with my other Indian dining experiences is the conversation and customer service I've had. That always maintains a distinction and stands out as a unique experience.
When we decided on Coromandel, located at 185 Boston Post Road in Orange Connecticut, we expected our usual Indian lunch experience. We arrive a bit early and a gentleman by the name of Mathew was very accommodating while they made final preparations for the start of the day. I was preoccupied with other business matters as we waited for the doors to officially open, but Mathew checked back with us a couple of times as we waited. He was attentive, but not excessively so.
Since it was my first experience at Coromandel, we decided on the buffet in order to try a variety of menu items. Coromandel is not exclusively vegan, but like most Indian spots, it has a number of vegan options. Mathew walked us through the buffet and informed us exactly what was vegan friendly. A true professional.
Here's the rundown of our lunch choices:
Vegetable Biriyani - saffron flavored basmati rice & curried vegetables. Fluffy, flavorful and full of decent quality vegetables. The vegetables weren't the freshest in the world, but that didn't stop me, and it shouldn't stop you either. I added some mint and tamarind chutney and couldn't get enough. Adding the vegetables later in the cooking process or veggies fresh from the vine would've made this option that much better. Report: B
Dal Tadka- Tempered yellow lentils cooked with cumin, ginger & spices. I've been eating lentils my entire life and I'm sick of them!! With that said, Coromandel's version of this Indian staple was refreshing. The ginger was prevalent in this dish and the cumin took a seat behind it, which is a change from what I'm accustomed to. I like lentils again. They were tender and the spices permeated through every spoonful. No complaints here. Report: B
Onion Bhajjia - A light spiced batter fried onion pieces. If you're not a huge vegetable tempura kind of guy or gal, then try this. The batter isn't as light as the Japanese style variety, and it has spices and herbs added. These guys hook this up. lightly fried, not oily, and a nice layer of flavors. You don't like onions, you say?? Well try the 'Vegetable Platter' where there is an assortment of vegetables dipped and fried. I would've liked a little fire in the batter for more kick, but maybe that's just me. Report: B
Naan Bread - A flat bread typically with yogurt added. When you find a really good vegan naan bread call me. I don't care if it's in Surat, India, I'm there! It's extremely hard to find unless you search in our kitchen. This version of naan bread was more like flat bread (not that there's anything wrong with that). The smoothness from the yogurt was absent...probably because it was just that...absent. The bread just didn't have the elasticity I prefer in my naan. I want that ish to stretch and pop and make the chutney fly on the next patron's table. That didn't happen on this day to much of my disappointment. Still, a decent piece of bread to go with the meal Report: C
Lasuni Gobi - Mini batter fried cauliflower tossed with tomato, garlic & green herbs. This is the Himalayan rim rendition of Gobi Manchurian. The cauliflower was fresh and tender; the batter had a medium crunch and moist inner layer. The sauce was interesting and had good flavor. We eat Gobi at every Indian establishment we go to so we're Manchurian snobs; our nose only raised to a 45-degree angle here. While it was definitely very good, I prefer my fried gobi with a richer sauce, onion, and sriracha-like kick. Lasuni style is different, but still, something I'd request again. Report: B
Creamed Saag - Spinach, mustard greens, coconut milk in a variety of earthy spices. Kind of rough road review so far, eh? Well, let's pick things up and simply say this: This is the best Saag I've ever had. It reminds me of my wife's vegan creamed kale and spinach. I'm trying not curse here. Help me out...It's f*cking delicious. My bad. I had to get it out. The coconut milk was mild and subtle. The hint of curry and natural flavor of the greens were on full display, making it a very well-balanced dish. The chef put his paanv (Hindi for foot) in the pot of this savory dish. Report: A
See Coromandel's RDR Report Card below.
|Place||Location||C||Easy enough to find being on a main drag, but the surrounding businesses don't help the experience. We endured a heavy load truck hovering around while we waited to get in. Not the end of the world, but not great|
|Parking||B||Plenty of parking…It' s in a strip mall|
|Restaurant Atmosphere||B||Pleasant, laid back, informal.|
|Cleanliness||B-||Bathrooms were very clean, dining wear and serving utensils were fine, but there were flies in the room! It may not be entirely the establishments fault, but who cares. We all hate flies!|
|People||Service (Hostess, wait time, etc)||A||The Greeter, the waiters, servers, and everyone in the place were courteous, professional and friendly|
|Fellow Customers||A||The regulars are friendly. We met a few during lunch and they were cool.|
|Food||Presentation||B||Buffets are never beautiful, but the Gobi dish we ordered had great presentation along with the complimentary Tandoori chicken. We declined it, obviously, but it looked great.|
|Originality||C||Honestly, you've seen these dishes before, but don't let it deter you from trying this place|
|Nutrition/Ingredients||B||Fair to good ingredient quality. Lots of vegetarian and several vegan options|
|Price||Appetizer/Starters Price Range||B||The Lasuni Gobi was $8.50 for roughly 15 pieces…Not too bad all things considered|
|Entrees Price Range||B||Some items are a bit pricey for a restaurant of this caliber. Most vegetable entrees are ~$15.00; while there are non-vegetarian dishes as high as $28.00|
|Drink Prices||N||We kept it sober this go-round', but I'd expect the usual price range. I like scotch and I'd guess a glass of there finest would be around $12.00|
Try out Coromandel's after a long day of shopping in Milford. Try the Saag, ask for Mathew and tell him I sent you!