After returning from China, I was shocked by how quickly Austin is changing-the construction of more high rises in downtown, new construction east of I-35, new communities of family houses popping up in south Austin along with new strip malls. I'm all for the strip mall with an Indian restaurant close to home in south Austin! Tarka Indian Kitchen received either really positive or utterly dismal reviews on Yelp.
I wanted to try this place out and judge for myself, and I finally got the chance when my best friend from high school and I chose this restaurant to celebrate living in the same city again after 8 years of separation. Hooray for Austin's relatively healthy job market!
Tarka certainly isn't short on dishes that I'm interested in trying. I decided to stick to the chicken tikka masala on my first visit so I can compare it to ones I've tasted before. You have a choice of mild, medium, or hot, and I picked hot because people have commented on how the medium isn't the slightest bit spicy. Well, I got what I asked for. The tikka masala was tongue-burningly spicy. For fast food Indian food, I find Tarka's chicken tikka masala well-made and seasoned. However, the price isn't fast food cheap and is actually comparable to a sit-down Indian restaurant. In that sense, it may be worth it to drive further north to lunch at Tarka's older sister sit-down restaurant, Clay Pit.
My friend enjoyed her vegetarian dish, but the highlight of our meal was the delicious, refillable mango lemonade. It's more mango than lemonade, which is exactly what I hoped it to be!
Minced Vegetable Kabob
Chicken Tikka Masala-Hot