Restaurant Review: Shalimar Restaurant

Writer / Kara Reibel

The Shalimar Restaurant in Broad Ripple has been family owned and operated by Sukhdev (Dave) Samra since 1998. The Samra family took over the space from a prior tenant who was going out of business. “The former proprietors were discontent with the location,” said Samra. “We have had the opposite experience, the location is wonderful.”

Upon walking through the entrance, the walls are covered with awards and plaques, all praising the cuisine. One award is “best kept secret.” The name, “Shalimar,” refers to the exquisite gardens that were built by Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.

The staff is professional while the atmosphere is pleasant and meticulously clean. The dinner menu is moderately priced and offers a popular lunch buffet. The menu is comprised of dishes indicative of northern India. The drink menu includes an extensive wine list as well as a rich, Indian lager beer.

For starters, we enjoyed vegetable samosas, vegetable pakora and the chicken pakora. All were lightly fried to perfection, without any heaviness. These are accompanied by a variety of sauces, ranging in spice and heat to the customer’s tastes. The tamarind, mint and onion chutney gave each bite a different flare, providing a selection to chose from. The onion chutney is hotter than the mint and tamarind, for an extra kick.

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Flavorful and fresh, the entrees of seekh kabab and chicken tikka masala, were accompanied by saag paneer, dal makhani, garlic naan and biryani rice. The seekh kabab is finger rolls of ground lamb spiced with fresh ginger. The chicken tikka masala is comprised of boneless chunks of chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, then roasted on skewers and sautéed in tomato sauce. The entrees were presented impeccably in traditional Indian hand-hammered dishes. The side of saag paneer, which is spinach cooked with homemade cheese and fresh spices, accompanied the seekh kabab nicely, along with every savory bite of the chicken tikka masala. Lentils complimented the meal nicely, as do the staples of rice and naan. The garlic naan was especially enjoyable.

Desserts were challenging to select from as all are recommended. The finalists were gulab jamun, mango pudding and the house-favorite kheer, which is a rice pudding. The round gulab jamun are made from essence of milk and cooked by being fried lightly then served in warm honey. The mango pudding contained large chunks of delicious mango. The kheer is made with rice and milk and flavored with nuts, raisins and cardamon.

What used to be a best kept secret, can no longer lay claim. The essence of the original meaning of “Shalimar” is “the great place” and Samra’s Shalimar Restaurant lives up to its expectations.

The Shalimar Restaurant is located in the strip adjacent to Broad Ripple High School.

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