On a sunny Friday afternoon we entered New Taj India Cuisine, greeted by the scent of curry and bright red, orange and green delicacies neatly arranged on a buffet cart. We grabbed a table near the window before wandering over to fill our plates with vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian specialties.
Owner and chef Baljit Singh and business partner Avtar Singh make everything they serve from scratch. Since opening New Taj in 2010 in Corn Hill Landing, business has been good. (Baljit Singh previously owned Penfield’s Tandoor Flame, which he sold in 2010.)
The New Taj lunch buffet ($9.99), which we happily took advantage of, is offered exclusively on Fridays.
On other days, a prix-fixe lunch special, called Thali, includes a variety of three meats and three vegetables ($9.99). Meats might include chicken makhani — mildly spiced chicken simmered in cumin and butter with tomatoes, garlic, ginger and nuts ($12.95); tender tandoori chicken — lean chicken marinated in yogurt and spices then cooked over hot coals in a clay oven ($11.95); and succulent beef or lamb curry — cubed pieces of meat simmered in pungent curry sauce ($12.95 to $13.95).
Whether it’s on the buffet or part of the Thali, your attention is drawn to classic vegetable dishes such as navrattan shahi korma — potatoes, peas, carrots, cauliflower, onions, bell peppers and cheese covered in a sauce enhanced by deep spices and finished with almonds and sweet raisins ($12.95). There’s also the ever-popular chickpea curry dish, called chole, which is cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices ($9.95). Perhaps the most recognized Indian staple, makhani dal — long-stewed lentils — is made with ghee, or clarified butter, helping to create its rich creaminess ($9.95).
Sides of cabbage and fragrant long grain basmati rice are always available, and for refreshing relief from the fiery dishes, try a side of raita yogurt with cucumbers and pleasant spices ($2.95).
But don’t leave without soothing your international sweet side. Sip on masala chai tea ($2.95) while splurging on the candy-like gulab jamun. Tender rounds of milk solids and flour are deep-fried, then laid in a pool of rosewater-flavored syrup ($3.95). It’s well worth your dentist’s disapproval. Something more comforting might be the kheer, creamy basmati rice pudding supplemented with almond and raisins ($3.50).