You see, I have this friend. Let's just call her Afton. She's obsessed with Indian food. Like, really likes it. Like, has it for multiple meals, multiple times a week.
I've been to both of the Indian restaurants in Morgantown -- Mother India and Saffron -- already, so we searched for the best Indian restaurants near Pittsburgh, and Tamarind Savoring India in Greentree came up a few times. They have another location in Cranberry. As a side note, Afton knew we were getting Indian for dinner ... but she went ahead and had it for lunch. No joke when I say "obsessed."
Tamarind specializes in southern Indian food. South Indian food tends to be spicier and use more rice and more vegetables. North India food tends to be more mild and uses more dairy, breads, lentils and tomatoes. Of course that often gets thrown out the window with American tastebuds, but that's a basis for where to start.
Tamarind didn't have the buffet on Friday night (they only have that on weekends), but we pretty much knew what we wanted anyway. Once we finally found the place tucked into an unassuming plaza, I was a little surprised at it being somewhat run down. The photos online show a more white tablecloth feel. The first table we sat at was so tight, we asked to be moved to the next. That was received warmly, so we then took to our menus.
They have a good bit. Everything from chicken tikka masala and classic and contemporary meals, tandoori, seafood, meat and vegetarian offerings. There's even street food and original appetizers. We were first brought out this brittle bread - like papadam? - but it was almost like a cracker. With a herb chutney and this kind of thin, spicy BBQ sauce. I've never had this before - so someone educate me. But it was a nice little quick bite before our meal.
So I've never had a dosa before. We ordered the sada dosa, which is this giant (I mean giant - there's a regular-sized dinner plate under that thing) paper-thin pancake-like thing full of potato with a couple sauces - a yogurt sauce, masala sauce. I was on my third course at this point, so I tried to get a few good mouthfuls of the potato mixture and save some room for the main course. It was tasty - well seasoned, well spiced and I loved the masala sauce to go with it.
Chicken tikka masala, of course, was what I chose because I crave it in my dreams because I am terrible and will hopefully venture outside of this comfort dish soon enough. However, without a buffet, I wasn't sure what I would be crazy for, so I went with my go-to. And it was delicious. Maybe some of the best I've had.
Afton had ordered some garlic naan, which was just a puffy little piece of garlic heaven that went amazingly with the creamy, smokey sauce, complete with onions, tomatoes and peppers. Giant chunks of chicken. Just fantastic. I took turns piling a little bit of rice, then pouring a little bit of the dish. So good. And my mouth is watering thinking about it. Oh, Afton...