Thursday, December 6, 2012

Maharaja Indian Restaurant

From the first time Donna and I were introduced to Indian food at Indian Gardens in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, way back in 1983, it has been one of our top 3 favorite international cuisines. Since then, we've sampled Indian food anytime we've had the opportunity. We've had Indian food in Houston, Dallas, Shreveport, Austin, Santa Fe, Ft. Worth, Midland, and anywhere else we've come across it. Recently, we tried Maharaja Indian Restaurant in Lubbock.

We've had better. Having said that, though, I might say that bad Indian food is better than no Indian food because we do enjoy it that much.

The first clue that the food might not be that good was the small number of diners in the restaurant. We dropped in just before 12:00 noon, a busy dining time in any city, large or small. The lunch hour is normally a time of hustle and bustle at any restaurant, but things were pretty quiet at the Maharaja. As evidence of how slow business was, I saw only 3 employees. A young lady seated us, served us our drinks, and took care of our pricey bill of $23.71. A young man wrapped silverware and cleared tables. Occasionally, an older woman would step out of the kitchen to check items on the buffet.

After being seated and ordering water to drink, we stepped up to the buffet hoping for the best. The food was okay. I can't say it was bad. There were even some good dishes, such as the chicken tikka. But most of the food was uninspired. The rice pudding was extremely soupy and lacked the strong cardamom taste that Indian rice pudding is normally noted for. I do not believe any heavy cream was used, and there was no evidence of raisins or pistachios. The raita had a strong cooked onion flavor. Normally, I enjoy this condiment, but not this time.

There were limited dishes available, with only 2 chicken dishes on the buffet. There were no beef or lamb choices that I saw. Choices were not replenished until completely gone, so you might have to request that a certain option be refilled.

The building is nice and modern, and the location is excellent, being located on a side street off of Slide and 82nd Street. However, this is not enough to make us return. We were very disappointed.

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