Tamarind Pittsburgh Review
Tamarind2101 Greentree Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
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Tamarind Pittsburgh: Below Average Food; Poor Service
We never suffered from Buyer's remorse even when we purchased a big screen LCD TV that we didn't need.
But a meal at Tamarind Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh was enough to send us into a severe fit of Buyer's remorse.
Tamarind is a remorseless Indian restaurant doling out dollops of misery without qualm.
Our meal at Tamarind Indian restaurant on Greentree Road in Pittsburgh was a chronicle of repeated assaults on the tastebuds and inexcusable poor service.
South Indian restaurants are still the exception than the norm in the U.S. And hailing as we do from a Southern corner of India, we hanker for food from that region.
So, it was with heightened expectation that we visited Tamarind Indian restaurant the other day.
Being gluttons for South Indian food, we ordered a variety of items including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes but confronted repeated disappointments.
Cold Andhra Spicy DosaOur Andhra Spicy Dosa ($6.25) came cold and soft to the table. Although the accompanying Sambar was tasty, the Chutney was obscenely cold and bland. For us, one of the barometers of a good South Indian restaurant is its Chutney. Is the Chutney fresh, does it feel like it's just been removed out of the fridge and is it tasty.
By any yardstick, Tamarind's Chutney is a bad impostor of real Chutney.
Tamarind touts the Andhra Dosa as a Special Dosa on its menu, but the plain crepe topped with coriander, garlic, chili powder and tamarind was anything but special. The cold Dosa and awful Chutney robbed us of the pleasure of what could have been a tasty dish. We also felt the Dosa could have been a tad spicier.
It still mystifies us as to why Tamarind's chef decided to hang on to the Andhra Dosa in the kitchen until it had become stone cold. Was it a case of possessiveness gone too far?
Insipid Chicken 65For many years, Chicken 65 has been a big favorite with us. But the Chicken 65 at Tamarind restaurant was such a big source of frustration because the chef failed to add enough chili powder to it. In fact, Chicken 65 was so insipid that we wondered if the chef even added any chili powder at all.
Flavorless Chicken ChettinadPerhaps to compensate for the cold Andhra Dosa, the chef sent out Chicken Chettinad ($9.99) steaming hot to the table. But while Tamarind's Chicken Chettinad was hot in temperature, it was too mildly spiced resulting in lack of flavor to the dish. When cooked well, Chicken Chettinad - succulent boneless chicken cooked in a spicy gravy with coconut milk and pepper - is a treat whose delightful memories can linger long after the meal is over. However, the Chicken Chettinad we had at Tamarind was a poor imitation.
As we pecked at our food desultorily, we concluded that food this unappetizing can come only from a chef of modest talents.
Masala VadaLady Luck smiled upon us just once during our Tamarind meal in the form of Masala Vada.
Compared with the rest of the unappetizing fare we were served at Tamarind, Masala Vada ($2.99) was a delight. Most South Indian restaurants in the U.S. serve Medhu Vada but give Masala Vada the pass. We think that's a big mistake. Tamarind has wisely refrained from going down that path.
Tamarind's Masala Vadas (you get two pieces) were beyond reproach. These Channa Dal Vadas were crisp and came hot to the table. But the accompanying Coconut Chutney was pitiful. Like the Chutney that came with the Andhra Spicy Dosa, it was cold and bland.
Make sure you don't miss the Masala Vadas if you are heading to Tamarind.
Sloppy ServiceThe service at Tamarind can only be described as sloppy.
After taking our orders, the restaurant manager and the two waitresses would disappear. Like the Halley's Comet, they would rarely reappear and even when they did made it difficult for us to catch their attention. What made the poor service inexcusable was that Tamarind was not even crowded when we were there. Tamarind's restaurant manager seemed more interested in chatting with a family (presumably from Karnataka since the family members were speaking Kannada) in the opposite corner.
Further distressing us, one of the waitresses was moving around with her finger in her mouth (we completely sympathized with her plight in extricating whatever had got stuck in her teeth but felt queasy about her serving us food). The same young lady also botched up our desserts order subsequently.
We had ordered a single Almond Kulfi and a Madras Coffee. She came back with two Kulfis. When we gently pointed out the mistake, she rudely insisted that we had ordered two Kulfis and with a sulk took one back to the kitchen.
In retrospect, we shouldn't have bothered with both the Kulfi and the Coffee - neither of them had any merit. A pathetic caricature of the rich, creamy Kulfis that melt in the mouth, Tamarind's version of Kulfi was a tasteless, sweetless imitation. Kulfi is a favorite street dessert for tens of millions of Indians. For more than four decades, we've enjoyed Kulfi in many cities in India and the U.S. but rarely encountered Kulfi as badly prepared as the one we were served at Tamarind.
Madras Coffee came to us in such a tepid form suggesting a kitchen that has little respect for its diners.
Tamarind Pittsburgh RatingAs a guidepost to fine South Indian food, Tamarind fails miserably.
With food this unappetizing and service so offkey, we resolved that Tamarind would be an afterthought the next time we felt like a meal at an Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh. - © PittsburghIndia.com
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