Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome
I love Indian food. I love the unique flavours produced by the exotic blends of herbs and spices, the comforting creaminess of the different curry sauces, the creative vegetable dishes (no boring steamed veggies here!) and the tender meat that falls right off the bone.
For someone who loves Indian food so much, it doesn't appear very often in my life - the names of many of the dishes on the menus of Indian restaurants are almost as unfamiliar and intimidating as the list of ingredients needed if you are trying to prepare it yourself! Add to that the fact many of my usual dining companions have been scared off of Indian food for one reason or another, and I consider myself lucky if I can get it even once every couple of months.
So I was really excited when two of my best guy friends suggested that we go to Namskar one evening. Not only did that mean Indian food, but it also meant that I'd finally get to write about a restaurant on the north side of the city for Chow Down in Cowtown, my (almost) weekly series over at Calgary is Awesome.
Although Namskar serves up an impressive list of vegetarian dishes (including classics like Aloo Gobhi, homemade Paneer, and two types of Dal), all three of us veered toward our favourite meaty dishes. Ray went for the Butter Chicken ($16.99), Blair - who loves spicy food - went for the Goat Vindaloo ($15.99), and I went for a creamy Lamb Korma ($16.99). We rounded out our meal with garlic naan for everyone ($2.95 each) and an order of Saffron rice ($3.99).
Clockwise from bottom-left: Lamb Korma, Butter Chicken, and Goat Vindaloo
Indian food can be very deceiving because the dishes look so tiny, but they are so filling. The butter chicken had a sweet, velvety sauce where you could really taste the tomato. The chicken itself was very tender. The lamb korma was very creamy, with a hint of coconut.
I was actually looking forward to trying the goat vindaloo the most, as it is known as one of the spiciest types of curries out there, and I always like to push the boundaries of my spice tolerance. All three of us were also looking forward to trying goat - I am usually turned off by the distinct, musky taste of some goat cheeses and wondered if the meat would be the same and whether it would overpower the curry.
The vindaloo was a little scary looking - while the other two curries were brightly coloured and filled their respective metal bowls, the vindaloo looked darker and hid in its little copper pot, and a strong spicy aroma wafted up from the depths of the container. But it was very delicious - the meat was not musky at all, and the sauce was not as spicy as it smelled. There was a welcome kick, of course, but the heat didn't linger and I was more than happy to spoon up some more and soak the sauce up with the warm (borderline hot, really) garlic naan.
The staff at Namskar were very pleasant and our food arrived quickly - I could tell they definitely knew what they were doing. I would love to go back, and perhaps with a few more people. Their menu is huge, and with only three of us, we barely scratched the surface.
202 16 Ave NE
Calgary AB T2E 1J8
(403) 230-4447/(403) 230-4448
Open for lunch/take out buffet Mon-Fri: 11:30 AM-2:00 PM. Open for dinner Mon-Thurs 5:00-10:00 PM, Fri-Sat 4:30-10:00 PM. Open Sundays and holidays 1:00-9:00 PM.