Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Eating at Tikka Indian Grill is like traveling far away from the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood. The food there is amazing, especially if you like spices and discovering flavors and aromas that will astonish you during the entire meal. There, owner and Executive Chef Mallika Khan, who is from Bangladesh, crafted a menu inspired from her mother's recipes, covering many parts of India. We unfortunately did not get a chance to meet with Chef Khan, but we chatted a bit with co-owner Syed about the food (and the importance put on the quality of each dish served), as well as Bangladesh and India.
This place just opened on October 22nd 2015, replacing another Indian restaurant called Spice Garden. I love the decor of Tikka Indian Grill: modern and subtle, with one wall with beautiful photos (amazing colors) to remind you that you are in an Indian restaurant.
Foodwise, we had a festival and avoided spicy dishes like the lamb vindaloo I tried few years ago and made me sweat like Ben Stiller in the scene in the Ethiopian restaurant in Along came Polly.
They first brought us some papadam, an Indian cracker that I always found addictive. It was served with onion chutney (Left on the photo - slightly spicy), cardamon chutney (center) and my favorite: tamarind sauce. We also got a mango lassi that was delicious and not watered down.
For appetizers, we got different dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian:
Samosa chaat, a typical street food, made with chunks of samosa, chickpeas, tamarind sauce and yogurt. This is the perfect dish if you like mixing sweet and savory. It has a subtle kick, but the yogurt and tamarind tame down the spiciness.
The second vegetarian dish was Sabji Tikka.
It is composed of grilled paneer cheese, mushrooms and potatoes, also grilled. I admit that I did not really care about the potato, but the paneer was fantastic. Often, it is kind of rubbery. At Tikka Indian Grill, you will get one that has a texture similar to farmer cheese rather than firm tofu.
For non-vegetarian dishes, we got first the Tawa lamb kebab or pan fried minced lamb.
It was quite good, especially for people who, like me, love lamb, as it had this bold taste particular to that meat. Eating it, I thought they should serve it with raita though, the patty being a little dry, but I realized, writing this post, that it was supposed to be served with an apricot chutney...
The last appetizer was Paanch Shoran Jingha or shrimp with five spices.
This was one of the most flavorful of the appetizers and I am not sure what spices they put there, but I did not leave any shrimp on the plate...And I should mention that the shrimp, were perfectly cooked and of a nice size.
Then, came the entrees.
We asked for a tasting size as we wanted to try different dishes and did not want to waste, so what you see on the photos in the bowls is smaller than usual.
First, there was my favorite: chicken tikka masala.
The chicken was perfectly cooked and not dry, smothered by an succulent sauce that I literally inhaled, trying to restrain myself considering we had other dishes on the table.
The next dish was chana masala, curried chickpeas that had a little kick. A delicious dish that I suggest if you are vegetarian...or not.
I then was looking forward to try their dal bukhara. I love dal that I rediscovered in India last year, being more accustomed to watered down versions in the past, so, not so thrilled about it. But when dal is made with cream and butter, that is another story. And guess what: at Tikka Indian Grill, they use cream, lots of cream, that makes this rich dish one of my favorites.
The last dish on the table was the lamb chops that were marinated in spices and then grilled. Another dish for lamb meat lovers.
When we thought that the next course would be dessert, Syed proposed to try other specialties of the restaurant...
The first dish was chicken korma, that is chicken smothered in a creamy nut sauce.
The second one was chicken saag tikka, skewered chicken served in pureed spinach.
The last one was Rogan Josh or lamb curry.
All of these dishes were scrumptious and so flavorful. I am not a big fan of spinach (except a la creme), but the chicken saag tikka with its creamy spinach sauce is definitely a dish I would re-order.
To accompanied our dishes, we tried their delicious naan that was fluffy with a nice char, as well as some basmati rice.
For dessert, we then had kheer or rice pudding:
As well as gulab jamun, these milk balls that are deep fried and then dipped in a sweet syrup.
Both desserts were good and not too sweet, especially the kheer. I loved the gulab jamun that had a dense texture, although I would have liked a bit of the sugar syrup in it.
We definitely had a good time at Tikka Indian Grill. The food was amazing and I am still salivating while writing this post. This is a place to know if you live in Williamsburg, but also in the city, the commute from Union Square being as long as if you were going from there to the Upper East or West side!
Enjoy (I did)!
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ADDRESS: 185 Grand Street
(btwn Bedford Ave & Driggs Ave.)
Williamsburg, NY 11211
OPENING: October 22, 2015