Tuesday, June 18, 2013

First Look at Tandoory Taco

As the Woodlands area attracts more international corporations (We're looking at you, ExxonMobil) we're happy to see more restaurants appearing that appeal to more diverse tastes. We love Tex-Mex, but it's hard to get excited about yet another place touting their amazing fajitas and strong margaritas.

A case in point is Tandoory Taco, a new restaurant serving Indian fusion food. Tucked into the sprawling strip center on Sawdust that houses several independent restaurants (including The Olive Oil and Corkscrew BBQ).

Tandoory Taco is a bright, unassuming restaurant, with counter service and ample seating. An owner is on-site and involved, always a good sign. Don't go in expecting traditional Indian decor; casual is the motif, with brightly painted walls adorned with a collection of signs proclaiming a variety of slogans, none of which have anything to do with the food or the concept. It's an endearing and funky touch.

As much as we like less popular (in Texas) cuisines, it's a fact in the restaurant industry that they can be a tough sell in a more conservative market. Tandoory Taco faces this issue head-on:

How do you make Indian cuisine more accessible to the Texas palate?

Alex (Yash) Nagal is a partner, and the general manager. He's an avid foodie, and a chemical engineer. Nagal's concept is to provide an affordable, high-quality meal in an inviting setting. Food is his passion, and his enthusiasm is palpable. His approach is a clever one, and one we've not encountered before. Put freshly prepared Indian dishes into individual portions, and serve them in a soft flour tortilla.

This approach is a clever one. Tortillas are the preferred flatbread in Texas, where Indian cuisine embraces naan, the thicker, fluffier, slightly sweeter cousin. Tandoory fuses the two traditions, serving portions of freshly prepared Indian favorites in a soft flour tortilla.

We love the concept, but as always, execution is the difference between success and failure. A restaurant's success starts in the kitchen, and we were eager to investigate further.

Tandoory's kitchen is helmed by a young 28-year-old chef who knows Indian food, and isn't a man who cuts corners. He prepares all of the sauces from scratch, including Tandoory's signature Agra Tikka sauce, a bright, fresh, creamy tomato sauce that's enhanced with fresh Indian spices. High quality ingredients abound.

At Alex's suggestion, we sampled items incorporating the Agra Tikka sauce. First up was The Patriot. tandoori chicken (in this case, the darker, richer meat from the leg) is marinated in yogurt and spices, cooked in the traditional clay oven, and served with onion, a variety of mild peppers, and avocado. We enjoyed this taco - the traditional Indian flavor of the tikka sauce was balanced by the peppers and the rich tandoori spice.

Next up was The Brit, which swapped the tandoori chicken for a milder version made from the white breast meat, and prepared without the tandoori spices. The excellent tikka sauce was front and center on this taco; we feel it will appeal to those who prefer a slightly milder (but still very flavorful) dish.

We really enjoyed both tacos, and were impressed by the subtle differences between them. Clearly the chef knows his cuisine, and understands how small changes can result in significantly different dishes.

We're looking forward to returning and sampling the other menu items as soon as we can.

Tandoory Taco | 407 Sawdust Road | Spring, Texas 77380 | 281-203-5060 | tandoorytaco.com

Tandoory Taco on Urbanspoon


  1. Fatty FatBastardJune 18, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Any crispy tacos? That'd be sweet.

  2. we went yesterday and fully enjoyed it, we will be regulars at this place. Good luck

  3. Fatty, I'm pretty sure all their tacos are of the soft variety. But I'd voice your suggestion to them.

  4. I thought the place wasn't very good. The tacos were cold and the tortillas were straight out of the bag. Also, not very clean.

  5. I went and ordered a few different tacos. Each was missing at least one item that was listed on the menu. I attempted to order the Scavenger(fried shrimp)but was then informed they didn't have it. They then tried to steer me towards the Texan, which I obviously wanted to try the Indian fusion tacos (hence going to their place and not Casa Imperial) so why would I order a fajita? Their tortillas DEFINITELY were not fresh. I grew up raised around fresh tortillas. Those were definitely off a shelf. I just feel if you are going to open a "taco" place then make your own tortillas. Also I ordered the Baja Sissy Sauce on the side so that I could try it and I did not receive it. (none of the tacos I ordered had this sauce on it so maybe they were confused as to why I would want to try it). I think this is a GREAT concept, whether it will last is a whole different topic.

  6. This place was the bomb! I had the Chola and The Spitfire tacos. They were so good that I wish I had come more hungry. I thought the tortillas were great, so I asked if they were different and the owner said he changed them to a much better quality and I had to agree.
    I eat tacos at least once a week, a light lunch to go back to work but this week I think I'll have to bump it up to twice a week. I've got my eye on The YOLO and The Surfer, maybe tomorrow.

  7. An Indian/Mexican fusion place? I love everything about it. Seriously, WHERE have you been all my life? I might die and go to heaven when I try "The Emperor" - Lamb on a taco, GENIUS.Definitely adding to my list of places to go!

  8. Checked this place out about a week ago. The tacos would be pretty good if they didn't use the cheap, out-of-a-bag tortillas. I wished they served the tacos on little mini garlic naan breads. Sampled a couple of the more traditional(I use that loosely) Indian staples. I would rate it a 5 out of 10. Not a bad option for a quick cheap eat.

  9. this place is over priced. they give you a tiny soft taco. Like the dosa stuff.