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Restaurant Review: Awadh India Restaurant

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Awadh India RestaurantPhotos by Lauren Sega.
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Awadh India Restaurant sits at a location that should be great for restaurant ventures. It can be found in a bustling strip mall, nestled right next door to a movie theater: the perfect place to grab a pre-show bite. In spite of the sweet spot, restaurants never seem to last more than a couple of years at the address. It’s hard to remember the entire line-up of the parade. There was a wings place a few years back, and more recently, a seafood joint that went under, somewhat literally speaking.

Awadh set up shop there in 2018. As the name might suggest, the venture brings Indian cuisine to the table. Inside the restaurant, remnants of the former seafood spot remain; its custom-carved seascape chairs are covered with plain fabric sheaths, but the colorful, fishy artwork remains visible atop the booth seating. While not particularly on-theme, the glimpses feel like clues to the restaurant’s past.

Meanwhile, Awadh’s cozy Indian offerings seem like they might have some staying power. The joint is quiet, with an at-home vibe and a vaguely familiar menu, given that Indian food has grown mainstream in Columbus.

So like any Indian joint, you can score some Samosas ($4.99). Shaped like epic, edible pyramids, the fried pastry pockets are filled with smashed potatoes dotted with a few peas. While some places stop there, Awadl’s kitchen adds extra interest with a seasoning mix that adds heat and a vaguely orange hue. The piquant companion chutney supplies another layer of flavor to each bite. It’s a good mix.

Naan is a requirement at any Indian place. It’s just one of those restaurant foods that isn’t replicable in other contexts. The menu offers an option to try a whole bunch for $5.99. And it creates the perfect path for achieving a sufficient supply of house bread. An order offers Onion Kulcha, Garlic Naan, regular Naan, and Rota. They’re served warm and fragrant enough to make you want to wrap your face with the slabs (maybe that’s just me): toasty and flavorful, each one with a little different accent.

Continuing in a classical bent, the Chicken Tikka Masala ($12.99) features a plentiful supply of chicken steeped in a warm, rusty red, tomato-based sauce that has the peculiar richness that defines the dish. And yes, a little spicy kick in the mix.

The menu also offers an array of lamb, goat and vegetable options. The Lamb Biryani ($15.99) teams the mild, tender meat with a basmati rice mix that actually outshines it. While Biryani rice can come across as a dry afterthought, Awadh’s version showcases savory plumped grains that are worth eating in and of themselves.

On the vegetable front, Palak Paneer ($11.99) offers a luxe treatment of spinach teamed with the house cheese. It makes for a particularly nice pairing with the aforementioned bread offerings.

If lighter bites and a beverage are more your speed, Awadh is also home to a full bar with plenty of conventional drinking options. You can find it at 2584 Bethel Rd.

For more information, visit awadhindianrestaurant.com.

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