By Michelle Wintrich
I will preface this by saying this was actually my second choice for a mid-week girls’ dinner. I had picked another Indian restaurant that was closed. However, my friend recommended to me Tandoori Bites as a substitute. I didn’t even know the existence of Tandoori Bites and was quick to look up the location, tucked away off of Skibo, and the menu that had all my Indian favorites! I was in. I headed over to the restaurant after work, but sadly my friend was unable to make dinner. I totally understood and knew she’d make it up to me soon. I wasn’t going to bail on the chance to try Tandoori Bites though!
Excited, I entered the restaurant and was hit with the familiar scent of curry. Yum. The décor is very sleek. I was impressed with the lighting and atmosphere. I received a booth that had nice high backs… I love high back booths, they feel private… like you’re a VIP. The TV above the bar area was playing Bollywood music videos that you couldn’t help but bob your head to. The mood was definitely set for me to enjoy this solo dinner.
I received complimentary poppadum with pickled onion. Poppadum is like a very large thin, light chip. These are typically meant to be paired with an accompaniment and are not seasoned much on its own. This poppadum came with pickled onions that were so red that when I first looked at them I thought they were tomatoes. These onions were definitely pickled in cumin. If you love cumin, these bad boys are for you!
I love Indian bread service. Tandoori Bites does not offer a bread service (but I found out later that they have a bread basket of naan) so I ordered two orders of naan. I’m used to spelling naan N-A-A-N but I know that there are regions that spell it N-A-N and that is how Tandoori Bites spells it. I ordered the Tandoori Bites Special Nan as an appetizer. The special nan has mushroom, bell pepper, tomato, onion, and shredded cheese baked into it. It came with a raita, very similar to tzatziki, which is a yogurt, cucumber, and mint sauce. The mint and cucumber did an awesome job acting as a palate cleanser to get me ready for my main dish.
Butter chicken is my go to when I try a new Indian place. I’ve made it plenty of times and it literally warms my soul (great winter dish). Of course I had to try the Butter Chicken. The second order of nan I got was the Garlic Nan for dipping. Nan and butter chicken have to be eaten together, no exceptions. When I received the dish, it was bright red, and the reddest butter chicken I have ever had. It was warm and spicy and checked most boxes for great butter chicken. If I were to critique anything, it would be that the chicken was a hair overdone. The nan was excellent, not overly garlic flavored, but complimented the butter chicken. I would go back for the butter chicken and nan for sure.
I decided to get dessert to try the full experience of Tandoori bites. I was eyeing a dish with mango but I decided to take a risk and I asked the waiter what he recommended. He recommended the Rasmalai which is house made cheese patties soaked in milk syrup and topped with almonds and nuts. I know this dish is popular and was executed perfectly. I personally am not fond of grainy mozzarella style cheese in sweetened milk. But hey I am glad I tried it because now I know what it tastes like and experienced something I have never tried before.
What I would recommend to our community, go outside of you comfort zone, take a risk, and try new things. If you have never tried Indian Cuisine, try Tandoori Bites, the Butter Chicken and Nan is delicious!
Stay Hungry, Fayetteville!