I might become addicted to the Chicken Tikka Masala from Tandur Indian Kitchen

I might become addicted to the Chicken Tikka Masala from Tandur Indian Kitchen
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Tandur, a fast casual Indian restaurant, is taking the space formerly occupied by TrySports near Yafo in SouthPark. It’s targeting a grand opening in the first week of April.

Yesterday, I went inside and ate everything. I love Indian. I love fast casual. I’m now a Tandur fanboy.

And it’s not just me. Charlotte will be Tandur’s second city. The first is Knoxville, where guests have given the concept ratings of 4.5/5 on Yelp, 4.8/5 on Facebook and 4.4/5 on Google.

My expectations for Tandur were high — and after my visit, they were exceeded.

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Tandur Indian Kitchen will be open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tandur’s elephant logo and signage in SouthPark.

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Tandur is hiring, so if you’re interested in working there, reach out to them.

Tadur’s vibe is “fine casual.”

Upon entering, you’ll find a touchscreen to your right where you can view dishes and educate yourself on all things Indian food — including the benefits of certain spices.

The restaurant is fast casual, so you’ll order at the counter, grab a number for your table and the staff will bring out your meal to you, typically within a few minutes.

All dishes are plated and diners will be using real silverware, not plastic. In terms of design, Tandur is well ahead of its peers. I loved the giant, exposed ovens and open view into their spice rooms — where they keep over 30 spices.

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Tandur’s exposed spice room

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Tandur will be serving several bottled Indian beers and five local beers on tap. Non-alcoholic options include Sparkling Lemonades (flavored with their signature mint ginger or seasonal), Lassi (a traditional Indian yogurt-based drink) and Masala Ginger Chai (a hot beverage). They’ll also be doing wine. 

Tandur’s menu includes “saucy” entrees, wraps, salads and kebabs along with a kid’s menu, starters and unique sides.

I tasted about a dozen dishes and can tell you that Tandur will be one popular restaurant for my family. I enjoy Copper and Maharani, but Tandur is delicious, fast and less expensive.

The saucy entrees and kebabs will be your favorite. These range from $9.50 to $11.95 and are served with a choice of Saffron basmati or brown rice and include fresh naan bread. You start by picking a sauce – Tikka Masala, Kerala Coconut Curry, Korma, Vindaloo, Kadai, or Saag. Then you pick a protein: chicken, shrimp, steak, lamb meatball, paneer, tofu or veggies.

As you’d expect, the most popular item is the Chicken Tikka Masala ($9.95) which comes with rice and naan. I ate it and it’s outstanding.

I also recommend their Lamb Seekh Kebabs ($11.95) served with rice and mango slaw.

And it sounds odd, but start with their Spiced Okra Fries ($5.50) and baked Tanduri Wings ($7.95). One starter that I didn’t try, but I’m excited about, is their Chicken Naanchos ($4.50).

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Executive Chef Aakash B. Pandya. This will be Tandur’s second location; the original is in Knoxville. The concept is the brainchild of H.P. and J.T. Patel and this will be their 18th restaurant (they also own a bunch of Salsarita’s). The Patel brothers hired a famous chef, restaurateur and author named Hari Nayak to develop the menu.

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Spiced okra fries ($5.50)

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Tanduri wings (6 for $7.95 or 12 for $13.95)

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The Carolina Wrap ($8.95) – Slow roasted Tandur pulled pork, tamarind BBQ, cabbage slaw

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Tandur salmon salad ($10.50)

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Given Tandur Indian Kitchen’s food, price point and vibe — I expect this will be a new hit fast-casual restaurant in our city. The restaurant will open the first week of April at which time my Chicken Tikka Masala addiction will begin.

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