Although I don’t like to write negative things about family-owned places, I must suggest that if you want Indian food, you either learn to prepare it yourself or buy it from Aruna Gupta, Merida resident and excellent cook. I’ve had some dishes she made that are sold through Monique Duval’s bakery and they are great.
The Namaste Grill is not good.
First of all, it is physically uncomfortable except perhaps for young children. The furniture is picnic table style, that is, you sit on backless hard benches. The walls are painted a loud disturbing shade of I think it was orange, and the art exhibit they have hanging there does not go well with meals.
The night we went was a warm one. Although there were nice mini-splits tantalizingly installed on the walls, they were not in use.
Jacqui, Fay, Allison and I basically ordered the whole menu. In my humble opinion, none of it was good. My favorite Indian dish, panak paneer, was all mushed up spinach with no cheese visible. Perhaps it had been done in by an aggressive Cuisinart.
The samosas were not appetizer size, but huge greasy fried things full of badly seasoned potato cubes and peas. A real carbo/fat load.
We also had cauliflower curry, chicken tikka, and something with eggplant. All three of these dishes were the same color. They looked predigested, if you know what I mean. They also had the same taste, which was pleasantly hot, but nothing else. There just wasn’t that wonderful complexity you are supposed to experience with Indian food.
The best thing was the mango lahssi, which was a bit light on the mango, but delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with that, and they didn’t. Not really.
The service was abysmal. Not because no one cared, but because they didn’t know what they were doing. I mean I’m talking way beyond the usual Merida bad service. Also, the basmati rice was lumpy and the veggie appetizer tray had vegetables that had been sliced maybe a couple of days ago and not covered or refrigerated. They were wilted and dry. (carrots, jicama, etc.)
It’s too bad; we could use an Indian restaurant here. I hope they get it together. It’s irritating to me because it’s just two blocks from my house and would have been a great stop if the food were edible. Which it wasn’t. I went home and ate Jim’s leftovers. Now he’s a good cook.
I don’t know that everyone in my group felt the same way about this place.
Aruna Gupta, the Indian chef mentioned at the top of the article, has published a cookbook of Indian recipes and will prepare any of them for your parties or events. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org