By Vegas Food Nerd
Tapas done Bombay-style, in a nutshell, is the concept that this new restaurant is trying to bring to the Las Vegas area. Restaurateurs and foodies have all flocked to check out this unique dining concept. I decided to take a friend of mine (a self-proclaimed Indian food addict from England) to check this place out for the first time.
The décor is sleek, minimal, modern and inviting. The place has a casual feel that brings to mind an outdoor street market in the heart of Bombay India. It comes as no surprise that the owners, Jasmine and Bhushan Arolkar, drew their inspiration from their hometown of Bombay then, does it? They wanted to create a restaurant that fused together the modern dining experience with the diverse cuisine styles from the different regions of India, along with some other global influences thrown in for good measure.
Tapas, as you may or may not know, are meant for sharing. So my friend and I decided that it was only fitting for us to try their Bombay Tapas platter, which offered a variety of tastes from their menu to share, and we couldn’t resist adding the Samosa Chat to our order, along with their special of the day: a Veggie Fritter, also known as an onion bhaji.
First came the Samosa Chat: deep-fried filo dough pockets filled with a decadent potato mash filling with veggies and a blend of traditional spices, then topped off with a drizzle of yogurt and green chutney. Though deep-fried, it had lightness to it—and it was just perfect. I will be ordering this again. The veggie fritter showed up next and was like the perfect little nest of onion straws—fried crispy and delicious. I loved the combo of the mint sauce on top of the crispy onions. Our Tapas platter arrived next, filled with two varieties of shrimp, lamb seekh, cubes of cottage cheese bathed in spices, chicken tikka, and chili basil chicken. Tikka, very simply, just means “pieces” in Indian. So when you see that on the menu, they are basically telling you that the meat is in pieces. I learned that from our very friendly and most knowledgeable server for the day. Our favorite from the platter was by far the lamb seekh. It had the perfect mix of spicy and sweet. The rest of the platter was good as well, but we did agree, that while good, the chili basil chicken was by far our least favorite that we were able to sample.
Indian cuisine isn’t something that I’ve had much exposure to, but my friend who did have quite a bit of experience with it was very impressed with the Urban Turban. In fact, what impressed me the most was when my friend mentioned a dish that her husband had been craving since they moved from England to Las Vegas. Upon hearing this, our amazing server said to her: “Call me the day before you come, so I can properly marinade the meat, and I will make it for you both when you come to the restaurant.” How full service is that? Though we were too full for dessert, before leaving, our host offered his take on a breath freshener for us to sample. It was a sweet mixture of anise seeds, coconut, and some exotic spices that cleansed our palates, perfectly removing off our tongues some of the spicy pungent flavors we had sampled during our visit. Good times and good food = a food nerd’s happiness.
White Castle, Really?
One thing that Las Vegas seems to do very well, much to the chagrin of my foodie heart, is flock to chains. And being a Midwestern girl myself, I had heard the tales of this Midwest chain many a time. Grabbing a ten sack of White Castles was a rite of passage for many that I grew up with. But truth be told, we are talking about a paltry bit of greasy meat and grilled onions that don’t do much to take down West Coast favorite, In and Out. Yet, when the doors opened to our first outpost of this fast food classic, the result was nothing less than staggering. The Las Vegas store sold 4,000 burgers per hour in their first day of business. In fact, demand was so high, that the 24-hour store had to close for two hours just to get restocked on supplies to keep up with customer demand. Nostalgia, as it seems, is enough to get the hungry mobs standing in lines for 2-3 hours at a time.
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