Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tarka Indian Kitchen

When the weather is all cold and rainy like it has been in Austin lately, it sets off my cravings for hot food, both temperature-wise and spice-wise. When that happens, Tarka Indian Kitchen becomes a favorite dining spot for me. I want nothing more than to dive into a bowl of their amazing korma or their creamy tikka masala (as in, literally dive into it, headfirst, but I usually just settle for consuming it, instead).


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Not photogenic, but do not let this deter you; Tarka's korma is special.

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The dreamy-est, creamiest tikka masala.

Be sure to get an order of garlic naan to sop up the dregs with. 

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Just look at the amount of garlic on these babies! Great for first dates.

When it's warmer out, I'm usually inclined toward one of Tarka's "lighter" dishes, like one of their biryanis (basmati rice stir fried with ginger, garlic, onion, and vegetables and your choice of chicken, lamb, shrimp, vegetables, or paneer) or their sheesh kabobs.

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Biryani

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Kabob patties made with lamb, garlic, ginger, red onion, herbs & spices

If you need to curry some flavor with an Indian food lover, I highly recommend a visit to Tarka. Looking to experience all the Indian food Austin has to offer? Check out this comprehensive post covering all your Austin Indian food needs over at Mad Betty!

Tarka Indian Kitchen
Three locations:
North: 2525 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX
South: 5207 Brodie Lane, Austin, TX
Round Rock: 201 University Blvd., Round Rock, TX


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hidden Gem: Troy

Some of the most surprising restaurant finds are the unassuming spots in America's strip malls, with plastic plates and families behind the register. Toss in a decorative wagon wheel or perhaps a stuffed animal on a shelf or maybe even a large inflatable dragon guarding the front door, and the skepticism that good food may be found within tends to go up. But despite mixing all of these dubious assets into one package, word is spreading that Troy still manages to serve up a great plate of reasonably priced and delicious Turkish food.

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Most items on the menu are beef or chicken-based; don't plan on bringing your vegetarian friends here. You can order most anything as a wrap, a salad, or a plate. We tried two different plates, which run just $9.95 for an entree with rice, Turkish tea, and dessert. We ordered one combo plate with kofte kebab (basically little ground beef patties not entirely unlike bunless mini hamburgers) and beef doner (cooked on a vertical rotisserie, and more commonly known [to me, anyway] as gyro), and another of beef iskender, which is doner meat mixed with a tomato sauce and bits of pita bread, with melted butter poured over the top. 

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Combo plate of kofte kebab and beef doner

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Adding the finishing touch (melted butter) atop the beef iskender

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Beef iskender

All of it was delicious and homey and just the right thing to take the edge off a rare chilly Austin night. My favorite was definitely the beef doner; I'd probably skip the combo plate and just order doner next time, though I really would not be unhappy with another meal of any of it. What the service lacked in polish, it made up for in earnestness; toward the end of the evening, one of the guys literally pulled up a chair and started talking with us.

I was so engrossed in conversation that I completely spaced on taking a photo of the free dessert that came with our meal, a light custard called muhallabi. It was airy and not as creamy as most American custards, but a nice bite of sweet after a beefy meal.

Super casual, reasonably priced, family run ethnic restaurants are a recipe for success in my book. Troy fits this bill and I am sure we'll be back soon.

Troy Restaurant
8105 Mesa Drive
Austin, TX
(512) 897-2860
Their Facebook page

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