I knew next to nothing about Indian food when I sat down with the general manager for a chef’s dinner at Tamarind. Though the restaurant ownership has been in business for over twenty years, this Newport location has only been here for a few. I learned about the history of the ownership, they are an Indian family who opened their first restaurant in London and has now expanded to NPB and New York.
I liked the idea of eating Indian food but felt intimidated by the unfamiliar ingredients of the food. Tamarind’s management knew most Orange Countians would feel this way so they have their menu laid out in an easy-to-read fashion with both the traditional Indian name of the dish and then a California dumbed-down explanation. Which is much appreciated.
Tim and I sat down to a meal and with every course we received a full explanation of the origin of the dish and the ingredients/preparation method. Though this was arranged as a press tasting, the waiters at Tamarind are very knowledgeable and assured me that anyone coming to the restaurant can get on-the-spot training in Indian food.
The meal was delicious. Fresh ingredients — the sea bass was A.Mazing — and the way most Indian food is prepared, in a Tandoori oven, makes it a pretty healthy choice. Tim liked the Curry Prawns (pictured) the best. He would come back just to have it again. The Goat Cheese Naan was fantastic! Great for soaking up all the tantalizing sauces.
The atmosphere at Tamarind is lovely. Seating in the bar area is plentiful and the ocean breeze, open fire pits and pretty fountain makes it romantic/relaxing. They have a few large round tables where you can sit with a group.
I would recommend the Chilean Sea Bass dish and also the “Indian Lamb Pot Pie” called Dumpukht and also any of the Tandoori starters, particularly the swordfish. The chef made us a sampler plate (pictured) and I suggested they add it to the menu. Let’s see if they do! It’s a great way to experience the different tastes of Tandoori.
The desserts are tasty, too. I tried them all!