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A Quick Trip to Agra, Without Leaving Home

This entry is part of a series, Austin Scene»

Taj Mahal, with Ashwarya Rai

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.

Chicken Curry

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.

Naan

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.

Vegetarian Dish

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 on Urbanspoon

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.

The (Indian Buffet) Heat is ON!

Entries in this series:
  1. Cool River Café and Southwestern Poblano Soup
  2. Restaurant Review: Gumbo's Louisiana Style Café
  3. Restaurant Review: Chola Indian Restaurant
  4. Restaurant Review: Fujian Grand China Buffet, Austin
  5. Restaurant Review: Casa Garcia's Tex-Mex Restaurant
  6. Review: Mesa Rosa Mexican Restaurant
  7. Restaurant Review: Truluck's Seafood, Steak and Crab House
  8. Restaurant Review Update: Fujian Grand China Buffet Restaurant
  9. Restaurant Review: Pho Viet Restaurant
  10. Sunday Brunch Anniversary Celebration: Moonshine Restaurant Patio Bar and Grill
  11. Late-Lunch Steaks at the Blue Oak Grill
  12. Mama Roux: So Good There's A Song About It, Sort Of...
  13. Phil's Ice House, an Austin-Weird Place for Great Burgers
  14. Easter Sunday Dinner: A Poor Experience at a Usually Reliable Locale
  15. A Sedate Spring Lunch at Zed’s
  16. Looking for a Taste of Germany? Well, We Tried…
  17. Fresh and Tasty Tex-Mex, Prepared by a Grandma
  18. The HomeField (Grill) Advantage
  19. Dinner for One: Sometimes the Good Stuff is Right Under Your Nose
  20. Smoky Heaven in Round Rock: Johnny T’s BBQ
  21. Tex-Mex, Better’n Sex (Says So on the Menu)
  22. The Quest Begins Anew (Just Pho Me): Mai Lien Bistro
  23. A Little Bit of the French Quarter, Here in Central Texas
  24. Quick Bites: El Caribe Tex-Mex
  25. It’s Good, It’s Italian, and You Don’t Have to Go to Europe to Get It
  26. Casa G’s for Lunch (Hint: It’s Awesome)
  27. Chola Indian Restaurant: A Good Indian Eatery Gets Better
  28. Tacos are Brain Food, and Brainiacs Eat at El Taquito…
  29. Get Your Indian Food Fix the Easy Way: Tärkă Indian Kitchen
  30. Late Lunch at Mandola’s Italian Market; Worth the Wait…
  31. I Didn’t Know Sichuan, China Included Round Rock
  32. Sunday Brunch at Pecan Street Station; Good Choice…
  33. Does Kung Fu Buffet Lives Up to Its Name? My Sample Says…
  34. The Underground Visits Ethiopia for Dinner (and Has a Wonderful Time)
  35. Pho Lee Vietnamese, It’s Total-Lee Pho (and Very Good)
  36. A Taste of Jalisco in North Austin
  37. The Great Pho Quest Continues: Pho Thaison in Allandale
  38. From New Pho to Old: Lunch at a (Nearly) Forgotten Friend, Tan My
  39. Z’Tejas, a Wonderful Place for Brunch and Clan Revelry
  40. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Round Rock: Great Meat; As For the Rest…
  41. LongHorn Steakhouse Round Rock: A New Family Favorite
  42. Salt Lick BBQ in Round Rock: More Than Finger-Licking Good
  43. Drinks and Snacks on the Deck at McCormick & Schmick’s
  44. Going Back Pho More at a Local Favorite
  45. Swagat Indian: A Disappointment With a Few Bright Spots
  46. Branch BBQ in Wells Branch: A Local Secret?
  47. Karrrazy, Man: Kublai Khan Crazy Mongolian Stir Fry
  48. VooDoo BBQ & Grill: Their HooDoo’s Pretty Good, Actually
  49. My Fit Foods: Tasty, Healthy Food, Ready in a Flash
  50. Chang Thai, Our Family’s New Favorite
  51. A Quick Trip to Agra, Without Leaving Home
  52. Playing With Your Food (and Your Mom Would Approve): Shabu Hot Pot & Noodle Bar
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