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Author Topic: Cumin: Flavor of India  (Read 1990 times)
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« on: September 28, 2014, 12:53:23 pm »

Cumin:  Flavor of India

Location(s) Being Reviewed:  8242 E 71st St, Tulsa.
Date/Time of Visit:  6:45 PM, Saturday, September 27th, 2014.
Quality of Food (1-5):  2
Menu/Food Options (1-5):  4
Quality of Service (1-5):  2
Atmosphere (1-5):  3
Overall Rating (1-5):  2
Price ($-$$$$$):  $$
What makes this restaurant unique:  It has the most boring malai kofta that I have eaten in over fifteen years of enjoying Indian food... and it's the only place that I have ever found a HAIR cooked inside of the papadum.

Tell us about your experience:

Tulsa still doesn't have a "great" Indian restaurant.

I am a HUGE fan of Indian food.  I was introduced to it in 1998, and it quickly became my favourite ethnic cuisine.  Tulsa hasn't had a really GREAT Indian restaurant since Taj Palace closed a little under a decade ago.  (And, no, India Palace isn't great - nor even really that good.) So, I was really excited about the opening of Tulsa's newest Indian restaurant, Cumin.

My wife and I went to Cumin for the first time last night to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our first date.  Unfortunately, the experience was a disappointment.

When we first arrived, the waiters were hustling like mad from table to table, so it was understandable that it took a few moments to be seated.  As soon as our server approached our table, he explained that they were short-staffed and apologized - an apology that we would hear numerous times over the course of the evening.  I responded that I was in no hurry.  So, even when things were slow - and they were - I was understanding and never complained about the wait.

However, we had to ask for silverware and napkins, since - unlike other tables - our table didn't have them present when we were seated.

The meal started with a serving of papadum - thin, crisp wafers that we'd had numerous times at other restaurants.  It was served with three standard sauces:  tamarind, a spicy chutney (which almost seemed like a salsa), and a mint sauce.  There was no explanation of what we were being served, and while I realize they were short-staffed, a quick explanation would have been nice since we didn't tell him that we were longtime Indian food fans.

We were into our second serving of papadum (it took a while for the appetizers, as explained above) when I found A HAIR COOKED INTO my wafer of papadum.  No, I'm not kidding.  I broke apart my papadum, found that a crumb was somehow "dangling" from it, and then realized that there was an actual hair cooked into it.  I gave the hairy piece to our server, who took it back to the kitchen, apologized, then later told us that the current batch had been trashed and they were making a whole new batch.  He comped our appetizer at the end of the meal.

However... here's what's weird.  He told us that our appetizer was "on me."  It sounded like HE was personally having to pay for it instead of the restaurant taking care of it.  That seemed very odd.  I hope that they didn't force him to pay for a mistake that was clearly made in the kitchen.

I'm getting ahead of myself.  We ordered an appetizer we'd never tried at any Indian place before... gobi lassuni.  It was a mixture of vegetables, mainly breaded cauliflower, in a decent spicy chili sauce.  It brought the heat - that was good - but the breading soaked up the oil in the chili sauce, making it soggy and a little greasy.  That being said, it wasn't terrible... just not very impressive.

For her entree, my wife ordered the aloo gobi, which she thought was "pretty good" but not good enough to overshadow  the rest of our experience.  I ordered the malai kofta, and unfortunately, it was the most lackluster malai kofta that I have ever had, anywhere.  Most Indian restaurants will include something inside the potato/cheese kofta balls like little bits of vegetables, cashews, or visible spices.  I inspected each of the adequately-sized kofta balls thoroughly, and I found no such thing.

To their credit, the menu had advertised the malai kofta as balls of "potato and cheese," and I guess I got exactly what they described.  The sauce was pretty good, but it couldn't make up for the bland and outright boring kofta balls.  For almost eleven bucks, I expected something much more impressive.

The atmosphere was good.  The artwork on the walls was beautiful, and the new flooring was nice.  My wife liked the drapes.  The food plating/presentation was somewhat impressive.  However, the lights were bright in there - the same level as one would expect from the inside of a fast food joint.  If you're looking for romantic ambience, you will be hard-pressed to find it here.

It's worth mentioning that we overheard the servers (who were hustling like mad, to their credit) making numerous mistakes at the other tables, such as delivering items to the wrong customers.  This shouldn't be happening, even under pressure.

Also, it is my understanding that the owner usually acts as a very personable host for their guests.  In our case, the owner never bothered dropping by our table.

Finally, it's also worth stating that the water we received at the beginning of our meal was lukewarm with no ice... but the refills that were delivered later were actually cool with ice.  Was there not enough ice available for our water when we first arrived?

Cumin is popular for now, but if they keep serving up experiences like my wife and I received last night, word of mouth will very likely kill it.  We will probably never return, which is a major shame, because I was REALLY looking forward to Cumin and I had hoped that they were finally going to bring great Indian food back to Tulsa.

No such luck.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 02:42:58 pm by Badger » Logged
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