Quantity and quality: India House on Grand Avenue in St. Paul


I sometimes feel uncomfortable writing up restaurants because I realize something about myself:  Food and I are in a cozy relationship that makes me a very hard person to disappoint. I can count on my fingers (maybe on one hand) the number of times a meal disappointed me. So can I be a “critic”?

But then I think: What do I care?  My reviews are nothing but a record of some instance of enjoyment I had.  I don’t really set the bar that high.

I went out naan bread hunting in St Paul.  The hunt was over at Kowalski’s, but then I remembered seeing on a map Curry Leaf Deli.  My recollection was it was down Grand Ave from Kowalski’s, so I set off to find it.  Never did.  Instead, I found India House, 758 Grand Ave, St Paul.  Got curious, so I found a rare parking slot off Grand, got out, and walked to the restaurant.

India House is like a more modest version of Mai Village.  Maybe what Mail Village should have been.  Tables and booths. Wood ceiling with a suspended ventilation pipe. Cool. With Indian movie music playing.

They seated me, and I right away ordered paneer pakora from the appetizer list.  I had palak pakora in Toronto, and my brain got the two mixed up.  When it came, it was some rolls with paneer (cheese) inside.  With it came mango and tamarind chutney.  The pakoras worked about equally well with both chutneys.

Then I ordered the Tandoori fish combo and a mango milk shake.  It is a plate of marinated fish with seared veggies, a plate of Tandoori naan, a plate of basmati rice, and a plate of matar paneer (green peas and cheese in curry sauce).  The table was completely covered with plates when everything arrived. It was all sort of overwhelming.  Somehow I knew I wouldnt finish.

The highlight, of course, was the Tandoori cooked fish.  Never had it before, but I’m a fish lover, so it was quite appealing to me.  Then there was the naan bread.  A LOT of naan bread.  I was considering ordering a separate order to go home, but I could only really eat two pieces out of the 5 or 6 that came with the dinner.

Anyway, everything was a hit with me (so easy to achieve!).  I barely ate half, took the other half home.  Some people might find this expensive, but when you consider I was stuffed with half of the order, you really have to treat it as a dinner for two (people or days).  In that context, it didn’t seem so expensive to me.

The menu has similar combos with chicken, fish, shrimp, and lamb.  Someone else might go with one of the other meats, but I’m sure it will be filling and satisfying.