We’re talking dots, not feathers.
In other words, Sitting Bull and Cochise were nowhere in sight.
One buffet lunch does not a review make, but it only takes one look at the vivid, sparkling colors of the food at the one-week-old Namaste (it means: “bow to thee” in Hindi) to convince you that the food here is notches above the same old same old, steamer tray stuff you get at every other generic Indian joint in town.
And once you take a bite of Chef Om Singh’s food, it’ll be no contest. And when you consider the price: $9 for all you can eat at lunch — there’s no where else in town we’d rather go when we’re kraving korma, kofta, or kadhai.
Everything here had a brightness of spice and flavor that had us dropping our fork in appreciation. And from the ground lamb “sheikh” kebab to the crunchy chicken pakora, to the shredded carrots with honey, everything tasted like it was made by someone who is in love with this cuisine — not just using it to make a buck.
We’re sure the chef at Origin India is in love with something, but we’re not sure it’s with the food of his native land.
There were so many things wrong with our last meal here: the lack of seasonings, lack of spices, overcooked this and unsightly that, that we at ELV have decided to write it off.
What else can we do after being confronted with preternaturally huge, frozen, tasteless scallops deep fried with enough phyllo shreds to cover a Greek church? Or how about tamarind and mint sauces of no discernible spice or flavor?
Think we’re being harsh? Then please explain a quail egg wrapped in hamburger meat topped with deep fried onion rings — the culinary equivalent of a Scotch egg with an American belt and Indian suspenders — again without any identifiable spice or seasoning.
There was also a cheese-stuffed mushroom that a Mumbai street urchin wouldn’t have touched, and an overcooked sea bass with a strange, herbal/medicinal smell (and taste) that was a waste of a once noble swimmer.
The two side dishes we tried — paneer bhurji palak and crushed eggplant — were tasty enough, but, once again, bland to the point of innocuousness.
On the plus side, our waiter was amateurish, but informed and well-meaning, and our $50 Pfalz gewurtztraminer went perfectly with all that under seasoned food. (Actually, the wine list here is one of the few things to recommend about the joint — it’s small, well-priced, and would go great with real Indian food if the cooks would ever make any.)
This is not the first time we’ve been disappointed by Origin’s “modern” Indian cooking — it’s the third — and if you like gussied up, poorly cooked, bland fare pretending to be something it’s not, boy will this be the place for you!
But give ELV that old time religion any day.
Our lunch for two at Namaste came to $19.70. At Origin India the food (off the dinner menu) cost $80.80. Guess where we’ll be on Friday?
953 East Sahara Ave. (right next door to Lotus of Siam)
Las Vegas, NV
4480 Paradise Rd. #1200
Las Vegas, NV 89169-6539