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Jonathan Gold Reviews Tamarind in Newport Beach

This week The Goldster pays a visit to Tamarind in Newport Beach, and is none too impressed with the restaurant's haute Indian cooking. However, in the context of SoCal Indian offerings, he wonders whether Tamaraind is, in fact, the best option around:

It occurred to me that Tamarind might be the best Indian restaurant, even without vivid spicing, even without its celebrity chef, who had gone back to England ... It was luxury cooking for the Robb Report crowd ...I had a pleasant evening, and then I more or less forgot about the place.
The wheat crisps in that chickpea salad were over-sturdy, more like Ritz crackers than like the delicate crunchy things you find in Artesia snack shops, and the garlic nan reminded me a little of California Pizza Kitchen. Marinated lamb chops grilled in the tandoor, a Tamarind specialty, were mushy, the tandoori salmon was overcooked and the black lentil dal seemed as if it were half butter. The vegetable biryani was sharply fragrant beneath its pastry dome but wetter than I'd remembered; the grains of rice were less distinct. It wasn't a bad dinner, exactly, but it wasn't what I'd wanted either. I left hungry for what I imagined was real Indian food.
Looking for a point of comparison, Gold visits a white tablecloth Indian restaurant in Artesia to discover even less inspired cooking. He reassesses Tamarind and decides that rating Indian cuisine in Southern California is all relative. [LAT]

Although some dishes work better than others, B-Rod generally likes littlefork and she feels that the restaurant shines in its classic, nostalgic New England plates: "There's some sparse taxidermy: A large waterfowl spreads its wings over one wall, while a wild feline perches above another. I'm not sure if it conjures New England in any real way ... Luckily, the food often does. Travi gets the classics right ... There's a lot of unabashed nostalgia at play here. [LAW]

The Elsewhere: A Hamburger Today visits The Federal Bar, Eat: LA discusses Penang Malaysian Cuisine, Eating LA files on Crossroads, Food GPS eats boozy ice cream at Scoops, Gastronomy hits The Sycamore Kitchen, and LA Foodie tries Seasons 52.

Tamarind

7862 East Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92657

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