Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sankalp is Fresh Southern Indian Cuisine with Special Touches

      Anisha is originally from India so while working with her I wanted to visit one of her favorite restaurants in the area.  I'm not an expert on the complexity of flavors and seasoning in Indian food so I was looking to learn from the experience.  She offered up some restaurant suggestions and then said she thought we should go to Sankalp in Sharonville.  Then she mentioned that it was a chain.  Now I was a little confused.  A chain Indian restaurant?  It seemed odd that it would be near the top of her list, but I was not the expert here, remember?  Upon further question, I discovered that Sankalp was founded in India in 1981 and now spans the globe.  Sankalp translates to "determination" and that was evident with our experience there.

Sankalp's Signature Contemporary Interior
Vegetable and Dessert Buffet
      Carole joined us.  The look was very contemporary, and a lunch buffet surrounded the back of the dining room.  Anisha explained the sweet and spicy sauces and what they should accompany.  I took her suggestions and tried a few of my own.  Most of the dishes were on the spicy side and my mouth was pulsating.  I started with the Cold Kidney Bean and Vegetable Salad with
a light tangy dressing.  The Dahl Bhat was a mix of basmati rice and yogurt, which made an excellent companion to the entrée dishes.

Entrée Buffet
For those I chose Palak Chole of creamed spinach and chick peas alongside Mutter Paneer (the Indian version of tofu), a red curry dish prepared with onions, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and Indian spices.  It was my favorite.  Also on the pretty and tasty side was the Vegetable Biryani, fried basmati rice with vegetables.  The Mango Pudding was a soothing dessert.

My Indian Buffet Plate
Masala Dosas
      Sankalp has a few touches that are unique among Indian restaurants.  They serve Indian Chinese and for that I sampled Chicken #69, tender chunks of meat in a sweet and spicy gravy.  Most of the other dishes were too spicy for my palate.  The other thoughtful feature is that they serve not only Naan, but also Masala Dosas (light crepes of rice batter and lentil filled with a potato mixture) tableside during the meal, even when the buffet is offered.  Those are reasons Anisha puts Sankalp on her shortlist for dining out and one that will make me a returning guest.  The service was courteous and attentive, especially considering we were there for the buffet.

I'm not big on spices and vegetables.  I prefer the "buffet" along the perimeter of our house.

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