Grub Scout: India Cuisine delivers bold, palate-pleasing flavors

New W. Knox spot delivers bold Indian flavors

India Cuisine

West Hills - Knoxville

1645 Downtown West Blvd.

865-312-9866

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Just in the past six months, three Indian-food restaurants I had not tried yet made their way onto my radar, and being the fan that I am, I made a point of checking them all out. The most recent, India Cuisine, was based on a recommendation from friends, so The Grub Spouse and I followed up on that a few nights back.

I was immediately struck by the pleasantness of the restaurant’s interior. The single large dining space is well decorated in an Indian theme that also has a semi-upscale feel to it — the table presentation in particular. Extra place settings were removed when we were seated in one of the booths.

The main thing that reduced my atmosphere score was the fact that the room’s two TVs were tuned into a Bollywood channel, and the volume was disturbingly loud. The otherwise sedate setting was shattered by the frantic sounds of a wacky comedy in the Hindi tongue.

The appetizer section of the menu includes quite a few selections, including lentil donuts, pakoras, samosas and chaats, many of which feature potatoes as a main ingredient.

Our friends had suggested that we order a dosa, a crispy crepe made with rice and lentil flours. I was not familiar with dosas, so we decided to try one made with onions and spicy chiles.

Since The Spouse has never cared much for the Indian spice palette, I suggested trying a tandoori dish since these clay-oven-cooked foods usually aren’t quite as pungent, in my experience. The Spouse ordered the tandoori shrimp.

I had lots to choose from. Other sections of the menu highlight house specialties and several varieties each of vegetarian, chicken, lamb and seafood entrees. Notable dishes include the channa masala (chickpeas cooked Punjabi style with garlic, onion and tomato), chicken vindaloo (featuring chicken and potatoes cooked in a hot, tangy goan sauce) and the always-popular lamb rogan josh.

I went with one of my favorites, the chicken korma, in which the breast meat is served in a creamy sauce with almonds. We added an order of naan as well, just because that bread is so darned soft and good.

One thing our friends neglected to tell us was that the dosa was literally two feet long. The crepe, smeared with a chile and onion paste, was rolled into a giant burrito shape, and we snacked off the ends. It was spicy enough without the accompanying sauces, but I enjoyed this crepe with and without the extra help.

The Spouse was pleased to find a palatable Indian dish in the tandoori shrimp. You could really pick up that smoky, oven-fired flavor, and the sliced tomatoes, onions and lime wedges gave the shrimp extra taste dimensions.

The korma was very good. I especially thought the quality of the meat was superior to other local korma dishes I’ve tried, although I thought the meat mixture, which I dolloped onto a bed of white rice, could have benefitted from more sauce (which I also like to dip my naan into).

So although you won’t hear me singing “Hooray for Bollywood,” I think the presence of India Cuisine only makes the decision-making process a little bit tougher for local lovers of Indian cuisine.

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India Cuisine

Food: 4 stars (out of five)

Service: 3.5

Atmosphere: 3.5

Overall: 4

Address: 1645 Downtown West Blvd.

Phone: 865-312-9866

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays

Beer service only

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Bottom Line: This Downtown West Indian-food eatery serves authentically cooked cuisine, with attentive service, in a semi-upscale atmosphere.

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