Review: Shaan India

Ah, Indian food. There’s probably no one cuisine I crave more. Throughout our relationship, it’s been my goal to make The Better Half like Indian food. So far, I’ve been pretty successful. I make Tandoori-style chicken at home, and he has actually said to me, “Hey, can we get Indian today?” This is a huge improvement from our early days, when he’d barely walk down Ludlow Avenue. So now we get to figure out what the best Indian in town is– a fun task.

Shaan India has been recommended to me by several people, particularly @ameetchimote, who swears it’s his favorite in town (and almost as good as his own Indian cooking). High praise. So one Sunday, we headed over to Oakley to try it out.

Shaan is in Hyde Park Plaza, on the opposite side from Kroger. It’s strip-mall chic on the outside, but the inside is comfortable and warm. The owner will greet you at the door and, if like us, you have someone new to Indian food in your party, he’ll help the newbie personally to pick out the best bits on the buffet (they do have a sit-down menu, but the buffet looked good and had gotten good reviews, so we braved it).

As I pointed out different things to try, the owner came up to Terry and asked, “Have you had a samosa chaat?” He hadn’t, so the owner grabbed a samosa, cut off the top, and covered it with chickpeas, tamarind chutney, mint chutney, and raita. Terry gobbled it up, and I doubt he’ll ever eat a samosa “dry” ever again.  I won’t either– I hadn’t had one prepared that way before, but it was delicious.

I sent a tweet to Ameet saying I was there, and he suggested the goat, so among other things, we tried the following:

  • goat curry (delicious, tender and rich)
  • tandoori chicken (moist, well-spiced, and plenty of grilled onions)
  • a richly spiced saag paneer, probably a 3 or 4 on a scale from 1-10, but much spicier than most places.  It was excellent
  • Butter chicken which was, again, moist and flavorful

If you want to add more spice, there were several kinds of chili to add to your dishes, as well as some spicy chutneys (Madras onion in particular– hot!).  Many of the choices were very typical, but the thing I noticed was how often everything was monitored– nothing stayed on the buffet too long, nothing got dry or congealed or any of the other typical caveats to buffet dining.

I can’t wait to go back to Shaan– not just for the excellent food (I’d like to try the dinner menu instead of the buffet) but also because of how warm and informative the entire staff is.  It’s great for those of us who are familiar with Indian cuisine, and even better for those who aren’t quite comfortable with it yet.  I’ll have to go again to determine if it’s my number on Indian restaurant, but it’s certainly in the top three.

Shaan Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon