Indian food is becoming my "go-to" comfort food when I'm on the road. Many times when I need a "stick-to-my-ribs" meal when I've been traveling for awhile, I'll look for a place that serves a good hot beef sandwich. But that always lays so heavy in my stomach and I don't sleep very well because of that. So, I've been turning more and more toward Indian food as a comfort food alternative. One of my favorite Indian restaurants - Taj of India in Indianapolis (click here to see my entry) - had recently been sold to another Indian restaurant in the area - Amber Indian Restaurant. I was staying in the north Indianapolis suburb of Carmel recently and I found out that the original Amber Indian Restaurant was literally across Meridian St. from the hotel at which I was staying. Needing some comfort food that evening, I took the short trip across Meridian to have dinner at Amber Indian Restaurant. (see map)
Aulwinder Singh is the owner of Amber Indian Restaurant. Singh bought Taj of India last year, but for some reason it doesn't show up on Amber Indian Restaurant's web site. I felt the chicken curry I had at Taj of India was the best I'd ever had so I was hoping that the curry dishes at Amber Indian Restaurant were just as good, if not better.
It was around 6:30 when I entered Amber Indian Restaurant located in a nice strip mall. (Now, I have to tell you that none of the pictures I took inside the place turned out. The lighting was dark and each picture I had taken was fuzzy. I usually can't tell how bad a picture is until I download it onto my computer. Doing that later that evening in my hotel room showed that the dozen or so pictures I took inside the restaurant didn't turn out.) I was greeted by a young man and shown to a table near the front door. As I sat down and began to look at the menu, I took a look around the elegant dining room and noticed a number Indian families dining at Amber. While I was there another number of people of Indian descent came in to pick up orders to go. I figured that if Indians eat at Amber, it must be pretty good.
They did have a number of curry dishes at Amber Indian Restaurant and I have gotten over my distaste for lamb dishes. At the top of the lamb part of the menu was the lamb curry. And when the waiter came over to take my order, I immediately ordered the lamb curry with some garlic naan. I got a Kingfisher beer to go along with the meal.
Not long after my waiter left the table, another young man brought over three sauces and some chips. Included in the sauces was the green sauce that I fell in love with at Viceroy of India in the Chicago suburbs. (Click here to see my entry on Viceroy.) I never knew what it was until recently - it's a coriander mint chutney. It's flavorful and refreshing and helped to counteract the spiciness of the two other tomato-based sauces I had on the table. I just love the coriander mint chutney.
I was still devouring the chips and the chutney when my meal showed up. The garlic naan was light and fluffy, but it was significantly smaller than other naan breads I've had in the past. But that was OK, it was also only $2.00 and I usually can't eat all the naan I'm served anyhow. The portion of the lamb curry they served me was sort of small, but they gave me a heap of rice and I knew I wouldn't eat all of it.
The lamb curry had a deep red color and had bits of potatoes in with it. I'd ordered the lamb curry to be "medium-hot" and I could have easily gotten the hot as I didn't think it was all that spicy - at least not to me. The lamb was tender to the bite and while there was curry in with the lamb, it wasn't as forward as the curry taste I got at Taj of India. I'll have to say the meal was good, but I guess I was expecting more from Amber Indian Restaurant.
I will say that I've had my troubles with service at other Indian restaurants, but the staff at Amber Indian Restaurant were superb. They were attentive, but not hovering. There were three young gentleman who helped out waiting on me that evening and they were all pleasant guys. Once I finished my first Kingfisher beer, one of the guys magically showed up and asked if I'd like another. I'd give the service at Amber two curry-stained thumbs up.
While I may have been expecting more out of the lamb curry at Amber Indian Restaurant - it was far was bad. In fact, it was very good. I guess I was just hoping for the same taste explosion I got from the chicken curry at Taj of India. I've now eaten at enough Indian restaurants to know what I like and I loved the coriander mint chutney at Amber, and the garlic naan was also very good, as well. The lamb curry was also very good, but I thought for $15.49 it was a little too costly for what I got. Still, if I were in the area and wanted Indian food I'd go back. I just don't know if I were over in Castleton or Noblesville that I'd drive out of my way to get there, though.