Friends and neighbors are often our source of new cullinary experiences in East Tennessee. We love to explore and we're always looking for leads. In this case, Joel and Holly, also new to the area, told us that they'd been delighted to find a restaurant serving quality Indian Cuisine.
So, when Laurie and I were out running errands the other day, we decided to drop in and have lunch at "Taj". It turned out to be a good decision...and as we entered the restaurant, we encountered the savory scent of Indian cuisine. We had a coupon from "Lifestyles" so we ordered from the menu. We did note that a nice looking buffet was available for a very reasonable $7.95 per person plus beverages. Maybe the next time...
We're not sure what to call this wafer thin bread that was served as soon as we ordered dinner. It's not like the nann, (Indian breads), that we've normally encountered. It's not mentioned on the menu so we'll just have to ask about it the next time. In any case, it came with 3 dipping or spreading sauces...all very good.
I ordered a Kingfisher Indian beer but when Laurie tried to order a Vodka & Tonic Tall with 2 Limes, it seemed that we'd encountered a bit of a language barrier. Instead, we learned that the bartender was off and the waiter/manager didn't know how to mix drinks... So she ordered a glass of Chardonnay instead.
For an appetizer, we ordered Paneer Pakora...described as homemade cheese patties dipped in chick pea flour and fried. While they were shapped more like cheese sticks than patties, they had a nice mild flavor and they weren't heavy like fried cheese is in most restaurants. It didn't come with any sauce for dipping...but we still had some of the 3 sauces that came with the 'cracker bread' so we were happy campers.
For her entree, Laurie ordered the Chicken Ragon Josh...(left of photo)...chunks of chicken cooked in a rich almond sauce with a blend of fragrant spices. It had a nice little spicy bite to it and Laurie really liked it.
I ordered the Lamb Vindaloo...(right of photo)...lamb cooked in highly spiced sauce, (I ordered it Hot), cooked with ginger, onions, tomatoes, lemon, chili and special herbs with potatoes. It was very good! We especially like the light and flavorful rice, (top of photo), that Taj serves with these dishes... It all worked very well together.
There is no doubt that we will return to Taj! It was a great change of pace and the food was very nice. Taj is located at 8520 Kingston Pike in Knoxville, TN. Their website is: http://www.tajfineindiandining.com/. (Note: The menu on the site is not current but it is representative of their offerings) Phone: 865-670-2878.