*This review is part of Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2014*
Click on the link above or the AFBA City Guide logo to learn more about the great food that Austin has to offer. If you have friends coming for SXSW, have them take a peek so they have some awesome options while in town!
If you are looking for an Indian restaurant south of the river that has table service, look no further than Asiana. Despite the location in a strip mall off of William Cannon and IH-35, you will find delicious food and attentive service.
The manager and waitstaff are more than happy to speak to you about what is on the menu. Once when my husband and I were ordering, our waiter told us that we may have ordered too much food because their portions are so big.
The decor is simple and clean and usually there is a good mix of people. It can sometimes be a bit quiet, but don’t let that scare you off, especially if you get there when they open for dinner. I think it’s pretty family friendly and the waitstaff enjoys seeing the children eating. The menu has North & South Indian & Indo-Chinese specialties – something for everyone! If you partake of libations, the restaurant is BYOB.
They have a lunch buffet and dinner a la carte. I have not been to the buffet. I usually avoid any buffet because I enjoy my food hot and fresh if I eat out. In the past, I had the tendency to fill myself to the brim and eat too many fried items! So all the times I’ve gone, it has been for their dinner service.
If you are vegetarian and don’t mind a lot of dairy products, one of the best deals on the menu is the Asiana Special Dinner.
It has the typical dishes you would find on a North Indian thali, but the portions are huge! It is a meal for 2, but instead of getting a thali plate with mini katoris (the small stainless steel cups that hold the preparations), you receive a full karahi of each dish.
Here is what you get:
4 potato and pea samosas
saag paneer – spinach in a cream sauce with fresh paneer (this was a little salty)
dal makhani – slow cooked urad dal finished with cream
aloo gobi – potato and cauliflower subji
paneer tikka – paneer with tandoori spices served on a hot plate (I think this might have artificial coloring)
choice of dessert: I’ve had the ras malai and gulab jamuns
With dinner service, you also get complimentary pappadams.
I still prefer a South Indian thali and hope they add something like it to the menu. I think the Asiana Special Dinner is a good deal and would be great for a family to share. If you don’t finish everything, they do have to go containers. I just wish that in the future, all restaurants would stop giving out styrofoam containers, but I’ll save my complaints about that for another time.
If I was going to pick one dish to suggest to someone, I would say go with one of my favorite Indo-Chinese dishes: Gobi Manchurian.
I make this dish for some of my clients and it never fails to please, especially if you partake in fried food. It’s basically corn flour breaded cauliflower in a sweet and sour tomato-based sauce that has traditional Indian spices, garlic-ginger puree, and soy sauce. This fusion food is super popular all over India. Since I never buy enough oil to fry anything at home, I rarely make this for myself anymore. When I go to Asiana, I always get this! At home, I am working on a baked version.
The traditional recipe is vegan, but they may fry their cauliflower in the same oil as some of their other items.
We also had decent idlis and sambar. The gigantic masala dosa was tasty but I wish it came with more coconut chutney.
Overall, I always have a nice evening at Asiana and will be going back when I can’t fight the fried cauliflower cravings.
It’s cauliflower, so it’s healthy, right? *wink*