Home > Restaurants > India Bistro – 6/24/11

India Bistro – 6/24/11


Location: 2301 NW Market St


Mon-Thurs: 11:30-3, 5-9

Fri-Sat: 11:30-3, 5-9:30

Sun: 5-9

My family is not what you would call adventurous eaters. Strictly meat and potatoes. My experience with “ethnic” food before I started hanging out in Seattle was limited to Mexican restaurants and the occasional trip to a Chinese buffet. I was in my early thirties before I had tried Thai, sushi, Ethiopian, Greek or Indian food. India Bistro in Ballard was where I had Indian food for the first time with a group of people I had just met through my friend Chris.

India Bistro is Ballard’s only Indian Restaurant. Located on the corner of Market Street and Ballard Avenue, it’s a small place with a dozen or so tables and limited outdoor seating. With white tablecloths and low lighting, India Bistro exudes a romantic atmosphere missing in the majority of restaurants in Ballard, making it a popular place for couples on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Service:

When J and I arrived around 7 on Friday night, the restaurant was already crowded with couples and families. Even though there seemed to be a two-person table available, we had to wait longer than I prefer to be seated. In fact we considered going somewhere else when a different table came free. Because it was busy, I supposed, once seated, it took a while to get our order in. After these two delays, our food did come out relatively quickly.

Full disclosure, I was in kind of a bad mood that day but if the free table was on reserve for someone, there should have been a sign on it. There was a larger table with a reserved sign in the middle so it’s not as if reserving a table isn’t common. Most likely if we’d walked in to find all the tables occupied, we would have moved on elsewhere.

One extra note about India Bistro: even on the coldest days, the restaurant is very warm. By the time our meal was finished, both J and I were glad to get some fresh, cool air.

The Drinks:

J chose a Riesling, which he said, was very good.

I ordered the Mists of Sahyadri Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine from India, because I had never encountered an indigenous Indian wine. I was completely floored by its dark, spicy aroma and peppery flavor. It went quite well with my entrée.

The Food:

As an appetizer we ordered the Paneer Pakoras, paneer cheese deep-fried in pakora batter. The fried paneer reminded me of fried tofu more than cheese. A little spongy but creamy as well. Not bad.

Whenever J and I go out for Indian food we always order Naan. This time we chose Garlic and Keema (lamb) Naan. At India Bistro the naan is huge and moist with the lovely slightly charred flavor that I’ve come to expect from naan prepared in a traditional tandoor oven. “Killer” is how J described it.

J decided to order the Murgh Tandoori, half a spring chicken marinated in Indian spices then grilled in the tandoor. He figured the best dish by which to judge an Indian restaurant would be the tandoori chicken. Most of the chicken was dark meat, two drumsticks and thighs. He said the meat was moist and had the great smoky flavor he associates with really good tandoori chicken. He especially liked the honey sweet tomato sauce they served with the Murgh Tandoori. Really great.

I chose the Roughan Josh, lamb chunks cooked with tomato, ground onions, ginger, yogurt, and Indian spices. The sauce tasted creamy and spicy with just a hint of sweetness. The chunks of lamb were fork tender. Pretty good though next time, when asked, I’ll request a spice level of medium-hot. It was just a little bland.

The Price:

The prices are estimated because I forgot to write down the exact costs and they do not list prices on their website.

Riesling: 7.00

Cabernet Sauvignon: 6.00

Paneer Pekora: 6.95

Garlic Naan: 5.95

Keema Naan: 6.95

Murgh Tandoori: 11.95

Roughan Josh: 11.95

The Verdict:

India Bistro serves really good food. The food was excellent and the quality of the wine, especially the indigenous Cabernet Sauvignon, was a surprise. I would love to find a bottle of Mists of Sahyadri.

Granted, India Bistro is the only choice for Indian food in Ballard but we’re lucky our only choice is of such high quality. They do the familiar, like naan and tandoori chicken, exceptionally well and have an extensive menu of less familiar options.

J and I have never had a bad meal at India Bistro. Yes, it can get crowded, the service can be a bit slow, and 9 times out of 10 you will wait for a table but it’s worth it considering how consistently good the food is. We’ll definitely go back.

Categories: Restaurants Tags: , , , ,
  1. cmb
    June 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I am a long-time ranter about the bad range of indian food options in Seattle, and while I can’t say that India Bistro is certainly among the best to be found in Seattle.

    The food doesn’t quite live up to the standard of top indian restaurants in a lot of other cities, much less the Curry Lane restaurants in NYC, but it’s great by Seattle standards, and the service and atmosphere are really very nice, which counts for a lot.

    Glad you guys like it too!

  2. DeeAnna
    July 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

    [Hi, new reader directed over here from the MyBallard blog]
    My problem with India Bistro is the inconsistency. The spiciness is never the same between dishes even though I always order it the same way. Most of their curries are also overly sweetened. We stopped going here because I never knew what my dish was going to taste like — sometimes good, sometimes sweet but bland! I prefer Chutney’s in Wallingford, Taste of India, and Cedar’s.

  1. January 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

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