Situl: An Indian Craving

3 Jun

Indian food is at a tragic shortage in Charleston. Besides a few hole-in-the-walls darting up here and there on Savannah Highway, the culinary capital of the Southeast is lacking as far as ethnic food comes.

So when I come home to the Charlotte area, like many reasonable people, I seek out what’s not available at school. Now, this usually means getting cheesecake at home or making chai tea whenever, but I occasionally get a craving for something really different.

Situl Indian Restaurant, located in the shadiest of shades, offered both an experience and menu I can’t find anywhere else. Reading the menu is like being dropped into the middle of the Apple Store: a lot is going on, you don’t understand half of it, and it all sounds pretty good. I was in the state of “I’m-hungry-enough-so-it-doesn’t-matter,” stage, which often means decisions are even harder to make.

I had heard one of the waiters responds to everything with “Thank You.” Forget um’s, ah’s, you-know’s, and mkk’s, to “thank you,” the response was “thank you.” I thought he was quite the character, and the bicycle bell ringing as complete dishes are ready for the floor made for delightful oddities.

The thing I like about Indian food is how spicy it can be, and how its spice isn’t like a cayenne or a horseradish spice. I am developing a chart of different spices, and this is definitely the nasal kind of spice that wasabi gives, but it’s a lot fuller and more flavorful than the famous sushi condiment.

I got aloo gobi, a cauliflower/potato/pepper curry dressed in a dark brown sauce with some garlic going on. It was a thick concoction that chapati went well with. Chapati at Situl is like a pancake, and the sweet brown sauce it came with was thin, syrupy, and reminded me of apple butter. The chapati was a good complement because of how much the sweet was able to neutralize the salty spice. Indian food tends to be pretty salty, but I thought the food here behind the Park Road shopping center was a little too much salt.

One patron reviewer on Yelp described the atmosphere as nil, and my friend commented the decor is a little left of horrid on the way in. With a “packed” crowd you’d expect on Thursday night, there was less people watching and more looking up and down at the various bits of textile and fake flowers.

Friendly and helpful staff, but I might try a place with a busier atmosphere and tighter grip on the salt.

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One Response to “Situl: An Indian Craving”

  1. Anisha June 7, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Try Blue Taj in Ballentyne, or Copper in QC. Both have a modern/sophisticated take on Indian cuisine, but the latter is more fusion type. Its Indian food dressed up- nonetheless both are really good.

    P.S. Totally digging the blog!

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