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Flavor of India

Update 11/1/11: Flavor of India changed its name to Mirch Masala.
Update 11/27/11: Ownership also changed. Side note: trust but verify facts from guys with brooms.

In a word: Just a taste.

The specs: #0404
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; profile at Campus Food; reviews at Isthmus and again, Decider, 77 Square, QSC; official web site, Flavor of India on Urbanspoon

Latest Flavor of India news and reviews

JM ate at the buffet.
Nichole ate at the buffet and had a chai.
The bill was $20.50, or $10.25/person, plus tip.
JM gave Flavor of India a B-; Nichole gave Flavor of India a C+ (see our grading rubric).

We visited Flavor of India's lunch buffet on the Capitol Square on a cold, wet Saturday - admittedly, not the most flattering choice, as traffic was pretty low. The space itself is lovely, if dim, with textiles hiding the drop-ceiling tiles and paintings of Indian quotidiana on the bright walls.

The venue seems to be catering to a narrow perception of the middle-American palate. This approach might backfire, however, since people who like Indian food (guilty) may be disappointed by its flatness, and people who don't like Indian food (or don't know it yet) will go elsewhere. On the plus side for vegetarians, four of the eight entrees on the buffet were meat-free.

The chai here is good, chock full of spices, served black with half and half on the side. We started off with a samosa, which was somewhat bland; the green salad was pre-dressed in a yogurt sauce and was a little wilted. The black pepper and onion kulcha and pappadom were just OK.

We sampled every entree and the best of the bunch was the mutter paneer, which was buttery with peas that gave a little snap. That old-timey standby dish, chicken tikka masala, sadly lacked depth, while the tandoori chicken was more onion than chicken. The sole non-chicken meat dish, a goat curry, was stew-like, fatty and tender enough.

The relish and dessert end of the buffet redeemed lunch to a degree. The red onion chutney was splendid and the "chef's special pickle" added some much-needed heat to any bite. For dessert, the halwa of honeyed carrots outpaced the bread pudding, which looked like Wonder Bread fried in batter.

With Maharani just a few blocks from the square and the many State Street denizens, we're unsure of Flavor of India's niche.

Comments

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It's difficult to compare Indian buffet food to what you'd get at the same place for dinner (which I'm certainly not faulting you for...just sayin'). Dinners at both Maharaja & Maharini are much higher quality than the food on the buffet. So I wonder if dinner at Flavor of India would have earned higher praises from you.

Anyone who has eaten dinner at this place care to comment?

I actually like this place a bit better than Maharini, which is decent but can be bland. We went a few times when they had a buffet option for dinner. The sag paneer, mutter panneer, samosas, chicken curry, etc., were all up to par. Since they canceled the buffet dinner, I'm not sure I can comment on the dinner quality to value ratio. The naan was really strong, and the mango ice cream was good. The decor is also pretty classy. Would recommend Flavor of India to anyone on the square looking for Indian.

I have eaten at the Taj, Maharaja, Maharini & one other Indian place in Madison, whose name escapes me at the moment in addition to Flavor of India.

The service was by far the worst of any and it wasn't very busy (an early Saturday evening). It wasn't quite rude, but close.

My wife had the Chicken Vindaloo, which was okay and I had the Chicken Saag, which was actually quite good. The Nan was sub-par. I would put Flavor ahead of Taj but behind Maharaja (east or west) and Maharini.

Ahem - the original typo seems to have been contagious - it's Maharani, not Maharini, the latter sounds sort of Italian :)

Noun

* S: (n) maharani, maharanee (a great rani; a princess in India or the wife of a maharaja)

Noun

* S: (n) rani, ranee ((the feminine of raja) a Hindu princess or the wife of a raja)

http://wordnet.princeton.edu/

It's a shame you didn't like this place, because my fiance and I love this restaurant (and it's sister restaurant, Taste of India). We both think it's by far and away better than the other Indian places in town. It's not that I don't really like Maharani, Taj, and India Darbar, but this place is spectacular. Try the Bhartha dishes sometime.

Is this place still in business?
According to the Campus Foods link in your article, they are closed, but can't tell from the company website.

It's open; I walked by it this morning and everything was normal. Campus Food puts the big red "Restaurant Closed" up when it's not the restaurant's business hours.

Awesome. Glad to hear they are still around, have to try them sometime.
Boy did that website "sign" sure confuse me!!! :-(

Don't rest easy; The Daily Page just reported yesterday that Flavor of India is up for sale.

http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=26288

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