Recently my father-in-law was in town
on a mission to single-handedly rescue the central Texas economy doing a little window-shopping and foraging. Since he’s retired now he can do pretty much as he pleases so long as it’s at the explicit direction of his wife. He’s been on a careful diet the past few months, and it’s been working; however, he hasn’t had opportunities to eat Indian food in quite a while.
I felt obliged to correct this
abomination minor oversight.
Chris said we’d meet at Frys, as electronics is always interesting to him (and to me, for that matter). On the other side of Parmer from the center where Frys is located is an HEB grocery and associated strip malls. I knew there was an Indian food place over there (though I’d never been in it), so I suggested we should check out their offerings. At first he paused and started to say something about his diet, then he woke up and realized he’d be
completely off his leash sans spouse, and he quickly accepted. I hopped in the Red Ride and headed out.
After more than an hour of shopping and strolling, all to build up our appetite (of course), we headed south to the Taj Mahal. No, the real Taj Mahal hasn’t been purchased by some Texas oilman and moved, as one businessman did with London Bridge. Our destination was only a few minutes away, and as we parked nearby the tempting aromas almost had me drooling
like a teething infant.
We were right at the tail end of lunch seating, and there were only a few tables with any diners. It was clear, however, that they’d had a good lunch showing. The buffet was open, so we placed our drinks order and headed over quickly. No sense in missing out by dawdling!
A fine assortment of choices was displayed on the steam tables. Vegetable pakore, Madras soup, tandoori chicken, palak paneer, aloo gobi, malai kofta, chicken tikka masala, curry beef meatballs, biryani and a zesty-smelling vindaloo were all waiting for us. Salads and desserts were offered on a separate table. I loaded up on soup and a mixed plate that had rice, vindaloo and pakore, as a way to start the feast.
I looked around as we dined. This is clearly what a strip-mall, hole-in-the-wall restaurant should be! Clean, well-lit, pleasant to the eyes, ears and nose. Decorated, of course, but not wildly so; ambiance isn’t the reason you go here, the food is. No distractions in the furnishings or background music. I suppose about 50 diners could eat at once at the Taj Mahal, if they’re all friendly.
We ate and chatted, occasionally returning to the buffet to replenish our plates. Our server brought us plenty of naan, and offered to modify anything as request. We asked for garlic naan, and that came out quickly, hot and fresh from the tandoor. Excellent eats, everything.
By the time we were stuffed a Christmas goose full, the store had cleared out and the wait staff were cleaning up the buffet. I was sad to see it all go, but I simply had no more room. We talked for a few minutes with the owner, who was helping reset the shop for evening meals.
Here’s what we learned: Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine has a daily buffet for lunch and dinner, as well as a full menu a la carte. They deliver via Dine on Demand, and cater as well. They’re vegetarian and vegan friendly too. I found their prices to be very reasonable. The service was better than most buffet places, in my experience.
For sure I’ll be back. I don’t often get over to the Mopac-Parmer area, but Frys is still there, so I’ll always have
excuses reasons to go. In fact, I think I need a couple of parts Real Soon Now; I wonder if Chris will drive up and join me…
Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine, 12407 North Mopac Expwy Suite 200B, Austin, TX 78758. Phone 512.837.4444. Indian specialties for lunch and dinner, served in a relaxed atmosphere, seven days a week. Vegan and vegetarian dishes on the buffet and the menu. Kid friendly. Gluten-free available. Free Wi-Fi. Reservations taken.
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