The Indian restaurant test

When my husband was doing his job search, we found ourselves contemplating life in a number of places neither of us had ever been. My test for an unfamiliar town evolved into this: a quick online search to see if the area had an Indian restaurant. (Amazingly, I have met another vegetarian in Fort Worth who did the same thing as she and her family mapped out their future.) While the existence of an Indian restaurant doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything, it is pretty promising from a vegetarian perspective—it means at least there’s a chance of enjoying a wide array of complex, spicy vegetarian dishes that so many of us seek out.

When we lived in Los Angeles, Electric Lotus was just around the corner from our apartment. In Ohio, we had to drive over an hour for Indian food at Café Tandoor, and reserved such treks for special occasions. And those six years are why I’m well prepared to appreciate the two Indian restaurants right off Hulen, here in SW Fort Worth.

Last week we went back to Maharaja and enjoyed some classic Indian vegetable dishes: saag paneer (homemade cheese in creamed spinach), baigan bhurta (a chunkier version of the typical baked eggplant puree with tomatoes and onions), and naan. The menu has more than a dozen other vegetable dishes (each under $8). You can request the level of spiciness, and we were fine with medium; if anything, it was a little too mild. The service was quick and pleasant this time (I went once too close to closing time and the service was downright cranky). While it’s far from stylish, there’s something comforting about those polyester tablecloths, dim lighting, and soft music that you find in so many Indian restaurants. And while it’s in a strip mall not far from Wal-Mart, it’s even closer to a movie theater, which is convenient for a night out. 

Copyright 2009, L.S. Meyn