Cardamom-Fresh Indian

From Shalimar to Raja Rani and many others, Ann Arbor isn’t a stranger to good indian food, and that didn’t stop Binod Dhakal, former manager of Shalimar, from opening his own restaurant, Cardamom, on April 26. After almost three months of being open Cardamom is hopping with business.

Located in Courtyard Shops on Plymouth Road, Cardamom has taken over what used to be Famous Hamburger. Dhakal, who has been working in the restaurant business for 15 years, decided to put his experience into a restaurant that mixes “modern fusion and traditional dishes from all regions of India” and he did just that.

The restaurant itself is pretty small, with only 1,700-square-feet they have managed to squeeze in 20 tables seating about 65 people. They managed to modernize their restaurant while still giving the restaurant that Indian feel by using simple paint colors on the walls with a variety of patterns on the top most cushions of the booths. In addition they added a decorative piece that hung above the counter in the back of the restaurant. To add to the indian feel they played bollywood music in the background.

The service was great, even when the place was packed the most a customer waited was close to 20 minutes. Even then, the waiters and waitresses weren’t pushy and in a hurry to turn over tables, they let the customers already seated enjoy their meal. There was always a person filling empty water glasses and the servers were friendly, even added a comment or two showing they knew what the food tasted like.

Just like the service the food was amazing. For appetizers they have a selection from samosas to momos and even Papri Chat. The samosas were amazing, warm and crunchy with whole peas and great cilantro-mint chutney and a housemade tamarind. The chicken momos were also warm, sticky, but not too sticky, and the chicken was not chunky and worked perfectly with the Szechwan chutney. The Papri Chat was surprisingly good, given that what was expected were actual chips. What actually came was yogurt mixed with chickpeas, potatoes, tamarind, mint sauce, and papri (white flour crisps). it was a great combination between the smooth yogurt and the surprise crunch every so often because of the chips.

The rest of the menu has a wide variety of curries, tandoori choices, and even several cardamom plates. The chicken curry was great, the mild sauce was definitely mild, for those who cannot handle much spice, and the chicken with the rice was fantastic. The lamb with the medium curry wasn’t all too spicy either, but had a small spicy aftertaste. For those who are vegetarian, but still wants indian food any of the Paneer dishes are an excellent choice. (name of dish)the cheese with the curry was interesting, but in a good way,the sauce was very different from the chicken’s sauce and it was smoother in texture and it was also sweet like yogurt was added. In addition the consistency was much thicker than the chicken’s sauce.

Although the food was great and the service was excellent, their timing for getting the food out could have been a little better. The appetizers didn’t all come out at the same time as the other ones and the food took a lot longer to get to the table, after the appetizers were eaten, than expected, though they do hold to what they say about their own food, it is fresh indian.

Otherwise the place was fantastic; great service, taking a unique perspective on great food, and a lot of customers seem to be enjoying the food, hopefully the restaurant won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Want to know more? visit their website here and also check out their menu!