African Asian Barbecue Breakfast Caribbean Chains Chinese Classic Contemporary European Fast Food Gastropubs
Indian Italian Japanese Lunch Mexican Middle Eastern Pizza Seafood Special Occasion Steak



Mehak Taj India   Tandoor Tandoor Express Taste of India
Indian restaurants are the new In Thing in Lexington. Cutting edge diners have adopted the exotic and ancient tastes of New Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai), Bengalaru, Kolkata (Calcutta), and Hyderabad. Along the way, they've become acquainted with Indian subpopulations like the Bengals and the Sindhu. Indian restaurants, like their Chinese and Mexican counterparts, offer visual splendor even before the menu arrives. Rich tapestries, statues, and murals of palaces and temples reinforce the aura of ancient cultures which made food a fine art when European and British tribes were still cooking over campfires. Indian cooking is filled with tastes and sensations unfamiliar to most Americans. Chicken and lamb, curried and tender, are the foundation of most meals. Specialized ovens, like the Tandoor or Tagine, are used in slow cooking. Coconut and grasses, including bamboo, reinforce the delicate flavor of Indian food. But of all these ingredients, Indian cooking is the art of using aromatic spices very carefully to enhance, not overpower, tastes. Subtlety is the key. Indian food is low in cholesterol and high in vitamins. Indian restaurants, especially Tandoors, are also ideally suited to family style eating. You can order one of their Platters with enough food for three, or order two Platters for a party of 4-6. This allows everyone to sample many different items. Indian restaurants are also interesting because of their unique appetizers, desserts and beverages.

Mehak is the campus Indian restaurant. It's at the corner of Euclid and Limestone, across from Alumni Gym. They're set up for carryout and pickup with a block of dorms right across the street. To cater to the lunch crowd with all the faculty, staff and students in central campus, they offer a buffet. It's good, with all the Indian classics, but the flavors on the buffet range from sweet to bland, since many students are new to Indian cuisine. Sitting down and ordering off the menu gets you better flavors. For some reason they don't offer the traditional Spinach Sorba, but their Indian Style Tomato Soup and Vegetable Broth Lentil Soup are very good. They offer 10 kinds of Bread, of which we like the straight Nan, Onion Nan and Garlic Nan. There are 14 Chicken or Lamb entries, of which, of course, the Chicken Tikki Masala is the favorite of most students. However, we found their Lamb entrees very flavorful and preferred them over the Chicken. We especially liked their Lamb Vindaloo. There are seven Tandoori entrees, of which we like their Lamb Seekh Kebab. However, we tried the Tandoori Pomfret (marinated fish cooked with yogurt, herbs and spices) and found it possibly the best item on the menu. Mehak should advertise this as a signature dish. There are five Goat entrees. The Goat Masala (goat cooked with fresh onions in a rich creamy tomato sauce flavored with herbs) and Goat Vindaloo are particularly good. There are 16 special entrees for vegetarians and some of them are outstanding. We love their Baingan Bharta (eggplant baked in the tandoor oven with onions, tomatoes and spices), Bhindi Masala (okra cooked in lemon juice, fresh ginger, tomatoes and onions), and Aloo Gobi (cauliflower cooked with spices). All these are also gluten free. The Seafood menu includes Shrimp or Tilapia cooked in varying combinations of curry, coconut, sesame, vegetables, ginger and cashews. Beverages include the traditional Lassi, Chai Tea, Sweet Tea, or Coffee. If you have room for Dessert, you can choose from Fried Milk Balls, Cheese Cakes, Ice Cream, and Rice Cooked With Saffron and Fruits. For sides you can order Mixed Pickles, Onion Chutney, Mint Coriander, or Pappadam (heavily seasoned lentil bread). This is Northern Indian cuisine. Chef Paween Kumar was born and raised in India and spent two years at the Indian Government Food Institute. He has 32 years experience in the restaurant industry.

Taj India is the latest incarnation at the old Oriental Garden / India Palace location. Taj opened in 2009 and has already developed a loyal following. They lured longtime Lexington chef Benny Head from his former UK campus location, and offer a Northern India menu. The decor has a regal ambiencewith ornate chandeliers, a waterfall and rich wall hangings. The lunch buffet (seven days a week) is spectacular, with over 20 dishes and various tandoor baked breads and other sides. Lexington has eight good Indian restaurants, but the Chicken Tikki Masala, Saag Paneer and Tandoori Chicken here are as good or better than any of them. Among appetizers, we like the Lamb Kebabs. They offer eight good vegetarian dinners. The Tandoori Mixed Grill is a great way to sample the variety of their menu. Goat Curry was new to us, and we found it quite unique and tasty. Although their Rice Pudding is the traditional dessert, we were more impressed with the Mango Pudding. This is not a good location, out of sight of Richmond Road, on a dead end street. Both their predecessors were really good, developed a loyal following, but never attracted enough walk in or drive by traffic to survive. We hope Taj India makes it. 54 Patchen Drive. From downtown, take East Main / Richmond Road under New Circle Road, then turn right on Patchen.

Taj India
Tandoor Tandoor is the oldest Indian restaurant in town, named for the conical clay oven heated to high temperatures. Cooks then marinate meats overnight, stack them on skewers and lower them into the tandoor. For starters, we like their Murg Shorba (spiced chicken soup) and its companion Palak Shorba (spiced spinach soup). Tandoor offers nine breads, all made by rolling out the dough and spreading it along the side of the oven. Onion paneer, for example, is bread filled with onions. Tandoor offers the traditional Platter, advertised as feeding two but with plenty for three. However, the entrees are great. In seafood, we recommend Vindaloo (jumbo shrimp, scallops, and fish baked with potatoes and spiced hot sauce). The Tandoor Mixed Grill includes chicken, lamb and shrimp baked on a skewer in the tandoor. There are nine lamb entrees. We like the Karahi Gosht, diced lamb sauteed in a wok with onions, garlic, pepper, tomato, ginger and herbs. Of the 11 chicken entrees, we like the Karahi Chicken Saag, which is boneless chicken baked with spinach, onions, tomatoes and peppers. Tandoor lists 16 Vegetarian dinners. We like Vegetable Vindaloo, mixed veggies cooked in a tangy curry sauce. There are lunch and Sunday brunch buffets. Tandoor is the only Indian restaurant in Lexington serving authentic Indian wines. 3130 Maple Leaf Drive, Andover Shoppes, off Man O War across from Carmike Cinema. From downtown, East Main/ Richmond Road several miles, then turn left onto Man O War and right onto Maple Leaf Drive.
Tandoor Express, right across a side street from Euclid Avenue Kroger, is a "fast casual" Indian resataurant. There's a buffet for eating in, or you could order off the menu. The majority of their customers, however, are carryout callers. The menu is extensive and everything on it we've tasted has been excellent. We particularly like their Spinach Soup, Chicken Tiki Marsala, Breads and Saag Lamb (spinach and spices simmered with lamb cubes). There's a full range of Lamb, Chicken and Seafood items. Their Salads are good. They include Cucumber, Mixed Greens, and Fatoosh (mixed greens with spices added). Appetizers include Pakoras (deep fried veggies or meats lightly seasoned), Samosas (turnovers stuffed with spided potatoes and peas), and, our favorite, the Tandoori Sampler (assortment of shish kebab and shrimp with mint chutney). The Breads include the Nan, but also Roti (whole wheat unleavened baked in a tandoor clay oven), and Paratha (unleavened with mild spiced potatoes and mint). Entrees from the Tandoori clay oven include Chicken, Lamb, Salmon, Shrimp and a Medley of all of them. There are 11 vegetarian offerings. We think their best is their Eggplant Bharta (eggplant baked in the clay oven, then sauteed with garlic, onion and tomatoes). They offer nine Curry dishes, with your choice of Mild, Medium, Hot and Oh My God. Tandoor Express is open daily from 11-10. Phone 859-303-8888.
Taste of India enjoys both a thriving carryout business and a loyal dine in following. . The ambience is very informal and festive, and includes large TVs with Bollywood films. Service is professional but warm and cheerful. They offer the usual Indian classics but have added a few and customized others. Beverages include Indian Coffee, Mint Iced Tea, Black Hot Tea, and Punjabi Chai, a delicious blend of black tea, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, clove and milk. All come with free refills. There are Lentil, Spinach, Chicken and Coconut Soups. We really like their Spinach Soup (Palak Shorba), a rich and creamy take on this traditional item. They offer four Salads : Fish, Chicken (the Salmon and Chicken cubes are grilled in a clay oven), Kachumber (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and chaat masala tossed in lemon juice), and Garden. Appetizers are very traditional : Veggie Pakora (mixed vegetables battered in a lentil flour then deep fried), Veggie Samosa (peas and potatoes turnovers) Meat Samosa (spiced lamb, peas and chutney turnovers), Paneer Pakora (fried cheese & chutney), Chicken Pakora (fritters stuffed with spiced chicken, garlic & ginger), and Gobhi Manchurian (batter fried cauliflower fritters in red sauce). They offer 12 kinds of Nan Bread. We think all 12 are delicious and urge you to try the Sampler Basket. There are seven Tandoor Oven specials, including traditional classics Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikki and Seekh Kebab, but we recommend their Mixed Tandoori (marinated and roasted chicken, lamb & shrimp). You can pick from 12 Chicken dishes, of which we suggest the Mango Chicken (chicken cubes cooked with sweet & sour mangoes, spices, ginger and scallions). There are pages of Lamb, Seafood and Vegetarian entrees, and two delicious Goat specialties. 2467 Nicholasville Road. 260-1911.
Central Ky
Kentucky Lake
Northern Ky
Southern Ky
Western Ky
Join us on Facebook : Lexeat for restaurant openings, closings, menu specials, remodellings and other news
LAST YEAR'S IP VISITOR TALLY : 517,824 Contact us or add your comments on Facebook : Lexeat