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This is one of those classy restaurants that you always peek into on your way home and think to yourself, “Man, I’d love to eat here, but I can’t afford it!” Well tonight, I didn’t have to worry about affording it. With the help of Stern and a $5 co-pay, I finally got my go at an upscale Indian restaurant.

Tamarind was chosen as the one of the top Indian restaurants in 2003 by NYMAG. Tonight, there were nine of us, and as we arrived at 6pm, the dining room was completely empty. It took a good hour before the room starting filling up. Before we even received our menus, they gave us an amuse bouche, flaky bread with a thin layer of tomato filling and a creamy dipping sauce.

If you get a chance, try the mango lassi. It’s basically a thick sweet mango-flavored drink, kind of like a milkshake but made with yogurt. It’s extremely creamy but it’s excellent especially if you’re eating spicy food because the creaminess actually takes a bit of the heat off.

We each had $30 to spend including tax and tip. For a restaurant like Tamarind, that doesn’t mean much. Basically just a drink and entree unless if you want to split an appetizer. Some of my friends did split appetizers…

Raji’s Scallops grilled scallops with a coconut mint sauce $12

Keema Nan a crisp nan with ground lamb $5.50 (highly recommended)

The portion sizes for the appetizers aren’t too big, so if you plan on sharing, you might want to think otherwise. However, the naan and rice portions are pretty generous (assuming you aren’t starving) so those are better for sharing. The entrees do not come with rice, so make sure you factor that into your budget.

I didn’t want to be obnoxious and take pictures throughout dinner, so I only took a picture of my entree. I got the Awadhi Murgh, which exceeded expectations in both taste and portion.¬† The chicken was a bit drier than I would have liked and there wasn’t as much yogurt as I had anticipated, but overall, it was a solid dish. Shaun and Kat each got half a tandoori chicken which ended up being ginormous in itself. Shaun actually preferred Binata’s dish, which was the Chicken Tikka Masala. I had a bit of the sauce and was a bit surprised at how sweet it was. It reminded me of pizza sauce… well, almost.

Awadhi Murgh chicken breast filled with mushrooms, spinach and cheese, backed and served with a nutmeg, garam masala and yogurt sauce $21

Awadhi is actually a cuisine from the city of Lucknow. The cuisine is recognized for cooking over slow fire. I recommend getting the garlic naan if you get the Awadhi Murgh. It’s mildly spicy, so save your mango lassi for the cooling effect.

Overall, a very enjoyable dinner. If I could afford it, I’d come again. The service was fast/great and the servers were friendly.

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