Indian food is fast becoming my go-to for comfort food while I'm on the road. There's something about a good curry sauce that opens up my tastebuds, especially if I've gotten into a food funk when I'm on the road. It was a cold, rainy night in Kansas City and I was staying at the Hilton Garden Inn in Overland Park. (Click here to see Road Tips entry on the Overland Park Hilton Garden Inn.) I contemplated staying in, but then I did a quick search on the Internet and found an interesting sounding Indian restaurant less than five minutes from the hotel - Korma Sutra.
Korma Sutra is a play of words on the Kama Sutra, the ancient Hindu guide to a guide to "a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life and other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties of human life." Oh, and it's a sex manual, too. Baljit Singh is the owner of Korma Sutra (Korma is an Indian dish consisting of braised meats in spiced yogurt/cream sauce) which hails the "sensuous cuisine of India" served at the restaurant. Chef's Inderjit Singh and Makhan Singh run the kitchens at Korma Sutra. In addition to the Overland Park location, there is also a Korma Sutra in the Westport area of Kansas City, and a new Korma Sutra opened in late November of last year in the north Kansas City suburb of Liberty, MO.
The Overland Park Korma Sutra, which has been open since 2004, is located in a small strip mall on the northwest corner of Metcalf and College Avenues just south of I-435. (see map) The restaurant is actually hidden from both streets. It took me awhile to find the place tucked into a corner on the back side of the mall.
As I went in, I was greeted by Baljit Singh, a gregarious host who is also somewhat of a comedian. When I told him that it was just myself that evening, he asked, "Whatzza matter? You have no friends? Here, I'll put you at the 'no friends' table. You can make friends with these people." The tables were rather close to one another and there was a threesome of younger people eating at the table next to me. Neither of us had any intention of starting up a conversation with one another.
The dining room is a lively combination of colors, wall decorations and light ornaments. Linen table cloths are under glass table top. The place was over half full when I was there that evening.
There is a buffet that is very popular during the lunchtime hours at Korma Sutra. They also seemed to be popular with "to-go" orders as a number of people stopped in to pick up food while I was there.
As I was looking through the menu, one of the servers came over with some papadum bread and an interesting sauce to go along with it. I'm not quite certain what was in the sauce, but I could taste some sweet plums as well as something spicy. The papadum was crisp and tasty. The sauce was very good with it.
The menu at Korma Sutra was very extensive with a number of lamb, chicken, seafood and vegetarian entrees to choose from. It was what I like to call a "true Indian restaurant" because they also had tandoori items, biryani dishes and entrees made with goat. My colleague, Todd, likes goat meat in Indian food. I still haven't been able to cross that line.
For someone who doesn't care for lamb all that much, however, I've grown an affinity for Indian lamb dishes. They had five different lamb entrees at Korma Sutra and after almost jumping on the lamb vindaloo, I ended up with the lamb curry with some garlic naan. They also have wine and Indian beers available at Korma Sutra. I got a Kingfisher beer to go along with my meal.
The lamb curry featured tasty chunks of lamb meat in a garlic, ginger and curry sauce that was somewhat spicy, but not the type that will burn your face off. Mixed with the basmati rice, it was a great tasting meal for a cool and rainy late fall night. The naan was mixed full of garlic and fresh cilantro. I couldn't get enough of the curry sauce using the leavened bread as a sponge to sop up any that was left over in the dish and on my plate.
It was also a lot of food. I was getting pretty full when a lady brought over what amounted to a sweet Indian dessert for me to try. It was all I could do to take a couple bites of that before I threw in the towel. This was a very good Indian meal.
I waited for my check to show up and I sat there for a long time before I decided to just go up to the register and get my check from Baljit Singh. When I went up to the counter, he came over and started to protest. "No, you musn't go," he pleaded. "We have more food for you! Lime juice and towel!" (I guess their closing act is providing the customers with a warm moist towel and lime juice to squeeze onto the fingers to get rid of the smell of the spices.) But I declined - I'd had enough. Baljit Singh feigned hurt feelings. "Next time, you stay the whole time," he said as I waved goodbye.
And there will probably be a next time. I like to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Overland Park when I'm in Kansas City and since Korma Sutra is close by, I'm sure that I'll be swinging back at some point. The lamb curry was very good, the service was impeccable and efficient, and the floor show with Baljit Singh's interaction with his customers was rather entertaining. Korma Sutra is somewhat tough to find, but it's worth it once you get there.