A few months back, maybe in the spring if my memory serves correctly, I went to an event called SAVOR. SAVOR was a food and wine expo and showcased a slew of the surrounding area restaurants. I ate something from every booth possible and made my way through the room rather quickly. Along my way I stopped by a booth called India that I had never heard of, I’ll give you one guess what type of cuisine it was. I learned that India is under command from the same chef as all the Thali restaurants and Oaxaca Kitchen in New Haven, this fabled chef was no other than Prasad Chirnomula. Prasad’s story is awesome, here’s a small excerpt I took straight from India’s website.
A couple weeks back I was sitting around hungry and thought, “man, I really haven’t eaten any Indian food in a while.” I wanted Indian but I didn’t want to go anywhere local. I knew exactly where to go. I took off for New Canaan with an empty belly. When we got to India it was bustling but I had made a reservation. We were seated and greeted by the maître/bartender Millburn. Millburn was a beautiful Indian man and he made me equally beautiful mocktails throughout the night. Millburn also introduced me to Chef Prasad and both the restaurant owner and his wife. We talked food and our favorite restaurants for a while, but preceding this meeting, we ate, so shall we?
The meal opener was one of the best crab dishes I’ve had in a while. The Konkan Crab was served with a coconut lemon sauce and gooseberry beet patties. If the rest of the dishes measured up to this one, we were going to be all right. Next was the Papadam served with tamarind sauce and cilantro sauce. For those that don’t know, Papadam is like a thin Indian cracker like food with the consistency compared only to a pringle. I know its basic but I couldn’t leave without trying their samosa. Samosa is a potato and pea concoction cooked into a pastry shell. I inhaled these so fast that the watchful eye of Millburn had a hint of concern, but I powered through. Next I wanted something a little unorthodox, the bbq duck tacos it was. Out came different stacked containers holding the rotis, the duck and different sauces and vegetables to top them with. These were SENSATIONAL. They were small but there was a good amount. Very glad I stepped out of the box and got these.
It was finally time for the main dish, which is a combination I hold near and dear to my heart. I love chicken tikka masala but it’s only complete when I get the chance to sop it up with the ever sexy fruit and nut naan. I’ve been doing this for years and people think I’m crazy but it is SO FUCKING GOOD. I know tikka masala might seem basic compared to the more sexy items on the menu but I wanted to see how good it would be, it was top notch and I ate every last molecule.
On to dessert! Now I knew India was going to come with some solid desserts because how could they not based off of the caliber of the other dishes. I will admit, aside from those little cold sticky donut balls and rice pudding, I do not know a god damn thing about Indian dessert, so it’s about time I got LEARNED! First was the pistachio kulfi. What is kulfi you ask? Kulfi is unlike Western ice creams; kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard-based ice cream. Thus, it is sometimes considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. This particular kulfi was pistachio and it was insane. Second was the cardamom gelato. I love cardamom flavored anything and this stuck out to me so I went for it. Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance. Black cardamom have a distinct smoky, though not bitter, aroma, with a coolness some consider similar to mint. This gelato was intense and perfect, there were about 6-7 other desserts on the menu and I cant wait to go back and experience the rest.
Dear Chef Prasad, you rule, I hereby give India, New Canaan…
Take the trip, it’s TOTALLY worth it, or stop into one of Chef Prasad’s other fine eateries. Join me next week when I review Southington’s Ideal Tavern.