We’d heard rumors that there was a new Indian place in Chaska that defied suburban stereotypes, so of course we had to check it out. And we’ll be the first to admit we viewed its location with skepticism; it’s part of a morass of short strip malls curled around each other, with the restaurant in the same strip as a Sprint store, H&R Block, and Beadville USA, with SuperTarget, Cub Foods, and The Home Depot all looming on the outside rings.
Fortunately, India Bar and Grill outshines its location. From its soothing, tasteful interior to its friendly staff to its thoughtfully prepared food, it’s a welcome addition to the western suburbs.
As an appetizer, we tried the Gobi Manchurian ($10, above center), a hearty portion of fried battered cauliflower in a chili sauce. The cauliflower still retained some crunchiness, and the sauce was tear-inducing — in a good way. Instead of dumbing down the sauce, the restaurant went full-scale hot, something we don’t often see in Indian or Asian restaurants outside the central metro, and we salute them for it.
The Butter Chicken ($15) was every bit the decadent comfort food it should be. The chicken was tender and juicy, the tomato sauce velvety and rich with a subtle subtext of seasonings that was mild, yet flavorful.
The Goat Kadai ($17) had a more assertive, earthy sauce that was thick and rich, with a minimally hot aftertaste. The goat itself was cooked beautifully, not tough or stringy, and full of flavor that was more akin to pot roast than anything gamy. A Mango Lassi ($4) was creamy and lightly sweet and was a perfect counterpart to the robust dishes. Note for vegans: India Bar and Grill has several options that don’t involve animal products.
Even something as simple as Garlic Naan ($3) was special. The bread was airy and puffy, generously seasoned with garlic and cilantro, and wonderfully crisped on the bottom. It’s worth noting that the eatery has daily buffets, but those who choose the buffet will also get cooked-to-order naan, rather than bread sitting under a heat lamp.
If you’re venturing into the western suburbs, brave the clump of strip malls to check out this gem.
India Bar and Grill
Indian food and drink
162 Pioneer Trail
Chaska, MN 55318
Daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
BAR: Beer and wine
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE: $7-$23
NOISE LEVEL: Peaceful