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‘Homemade’ Food

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By Rachel Birdsell

TFW Contributing Writer

RESTAURANT: New Delhi Cafe

Preamble Ramble

I’ve been to New Delhi a couple of times before and was pretty pleased with the food but had only tried the American food they offer. I decided that I needed to try their Indian food because with a name like New Delhi, they must have Indian food, right?

Well, they do. They serve “homemade” samosas every day, and they have an Indian buffet Fridays through Sunday but the rest of the menu is American. So if you’re expecting a true Indian restaurant, New Delhi isn’t it. The quotation marks around the word “homemade” is how it’s written on the menu, so interpret that as you will.

Food for Thought

The buffet consisted of Tandoori chicken, curried cauliflower and peas, Bhindi Aaloo (okra with potatoes), black bean soup, yogurt sauce and fresh tomatoes, onions and cilantro. I guess you’d call it a limited buffet.  But it is all you can eat, so if you really dig Bhindi Aaloo, you can eat tons of the stuff. You also get naan bread brought to your table.

The Tandoori chicken wasn’t really Tandoori chicken, even though that’s what I was told it was. At least it wasn’t like any Tandoori chicken I’ve had before.

I’m not sure what it was, exactly. It was chicken in a sauce that had a peanut flavor and had very little chicken in it. My spoonful had exactly two chunks of chicken in it, which roughly equaled about 1.5 cubic inches of chicken. Just so you know, I’m not such a big geek that I always measure my meat in cubic inches. I only do so when absolutely necessary.

The sauce was very good and the peanut flavor didn’t come through until the very end, so it wasn’t overwhelming. There were also beans and some kinds of vegetables in the sauce, but I honestly have no idea what they were. I know it seems strange to eat something and not know what was in it, but I swear on all things holy, I don’t know. Maybe I was too busy measuring my chicken.

Besides my dining companion, the curried cauliflower and peas was the spiciest thing at the table. At first I was afraid it wouldn’t be spicy enough, but after about the third bite, I decided that my assumption was incorrect. It had the perfect amount of bite to it, enough that you felt the heat, but not so much the flavor of the food was lost.

As much as I loved the heat of this dish, it was a little mushy. If I had to guess, I’d say the cauliflower was previously frozen and the peas came out of a can. Peas out of a can should never be used in a dish. In fact, if it wasn’t for Le Sueur early peas, I’d say that peas out of a can should never be eaten except in dire emergencies.

The Bhindi Aaloo was good. Not great, but good. It seemed like it had been stirred entirely too much and was a little mushy, too. Also, there was very little okra in it. Unfortunately, I didn’t measure the okra so I can’t give an accurate description of the okra-to-potato ratio.

I only ate two bites of the black bean soup. I heard someone else in the restaurant claim it was the best black bean soup he’d ever eaten, but I’m not sure he was entirely sober. I don’t know what the soup was flavored with, but it was slightly sweet, and I’m just not into sweet beans.

Bottoms Up

I had a root beer, and it tasted just like root beer. I’m sure that root beer isn’t the normal pairing for Indian food, but I’ve never claimed to be normal. New Delhi offers wine, $3.50 bottles of imports and on-tap beer, $5 margaritas and a variety of coffees and hot teas.

The Sporkcast

(1-5 sporks)

Atmosphere: 3.5 nondescript sporks.

The place is pretty small, but in a cozy way rather than the “walls are closing in on you” way. They also have a patio and have live entertainment on the patio throughout the week. Wednesday night is open mic night, so if you have a talent you’d like to share, go give it a shot. Just don’t blame me if you get booed off stage and have samosas thrown at you.

Food: 3.3 melted sporks.

I just don’t like mushy food, no matter how well it’s seasoned. They also have breakfast, salads, sandwiches, burgers and catfish.

Staff: 3.4 sporks that repeatedly poke you in the eye.

You know how you occasionally get a waitress that just won’t leave you alone? As in, she checks on you at least every 1.28 minutes to make sure that the bite you just took was the same as the previous bite? We had one of those. At least, she was that way until I actually needed her — then she was sitting out on the front steps chatting with a friend. She was very friendly, but the only time I want to be bothered that much during a meal is if Johnny Depp is the waiter.

Dollars spent: The buffet is $10.95 and is all you can eat. The menu is pretty decently priced, especially for Eureka Springs where the restaurants tend to be a little more expensive than nontourist towns. Most everything on the menu is around seven bucks.

Chance of returning: I’ll definitely return but not for the Indian buffet.  The burgers are pretty good, and, oddly enough, the catfish is awesome.  Be sure and try the New Delhi fries, too. They’re slabs of deep fried potatoes and are quite tasty, especially dipped in ranch dressing.

A caveat: Look at me usin’ the fancy Latin words!

Here’s a little lesson kids: If you ever have even the tiniest inkling that you might have an ulcer, go and eat Indian food. I guarantee that by the end of the meal you will definitely know that you have an ulcer. This may result in the restaurant you’ve just eaten at getting a less favorable review than otherwise. Maybe had I not felt like I’d just swallowed a piece of molten lava by the end of the meal, my review would have been a little less bitchy.

But I still don’t like mushy food.

7 Comments

John Wiley September 18, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Sorry Ms. Birdsong that you did not appreciate The Indian buffet at The New Delhi Cafe. However, in defense of this establishment, the buffet is “HOME-STYLE INDIAN” and probably is not like anything you have ever tasted. If you are familiar with Indian cooking, you will understand that foods of India varies from one principality to the next or one home to another. In all of my travels to India, I reflect that the foods are varied and it may be true that peas and cauliflower do get a little mushy when on a buffet from time to time and if you did not get all of the chicken you wanted there was more being prepared and you should have simply asked. “Buffets often need replinishing.”
“I can somewhat agree with you that you may have been “a little to bitchy” over somethings that day as you even complained about the Root Beer. If you had a problem with Root Beer–blame Great Plains Coke and the bag in the box!
Might mention that the Restaurant has received numerous awards from “The Arkansas Times for its’ ethnic food”. Unfortunately, your taste do not reflect those of the masses and the varied cultures in which The New Delhi serves. Perhaps you might enjoy a good Samosa some Wed night at the open Jam and I promise “we will not throw them at you.” Unfortunately, we do not see your review as accurate. Hope your next experience is under better circumstances.

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Alex U September 19, 2010 at 5:43 am

I have been visiting this cafe for the last 6 years specially for the buffet and it gets just better and better.I have been to numerous indian restaurants and have travelled the world and have lived in india for over 15 years and do know what homecooking is and will give this place a full 10.

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Linda M September 21, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Hmmm. I’m quite surprised at this rather testy review, Ms. Birdsell. I eat at the New Delhi quite often, and I have always found their Indian (and American) food to be very fresh and very tasty. Mushy? Never. And honestly, you didn’t like the black bean soup? It’s to die for. I suggest you lighten up and return for the Indian buffet when you’re a little less cranky. And stick around for the entertainment. It’s always the best in Eureka Springs.

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