Even though I could have written this month’s Restaurant Spotlight purely from memory because I visit Sai Ram to eat about once a week, I was very excited to take my guest, as it was his first time eating Indian food. He has always been hesitant to try it, in fear of “curry” or “spice,” but I knew once I got him into Sai Ram that he would be hooked and crave the amazing, fresh, homemade taste that comes from the heart of the wonderful family that owns the restaurant.
From the moment you walk in, you feel right at home and are greeted most likely by a member of the family. Our server, Shavan, son of the owners, Krishna and Kumari, stated that visiting Sai Ram is like a field trip to India. He is right about that! The very fresh flavors are wonderful in all of the house-made dishes, and you can truly taste the love for what they do in bringing new flavors to our community. Whether you are a meat lover, vegetarian or vegan, or you need gluten-free choices, there is a full menu of options for you! My newly vegan mother is a regular at Sai Ram because of the endless choices, as compared to most places that have just one or two. The family, Krishna, Kumari, Neehar and Shavan, makes you feel right at home with the warmly decorated environment and the smells in the air that tempt your taste buds with what you are about to enjoy.
We started our meal with the house-made Nan. I compare this to pita bread that has been smothered in amazing spices and flavors. We chose the Ginger Nan and enjoyed dipping it, at the recommendation of our server, in the fresh mint and jalapeño sauce that came with our delicious Aloo Chot appetizer. Usually I go with the Pakoras, because they are so fluffy and delicious; however, we took the advice of Shavan and we were so glad we did! The flavors of the Aloo Chat were the perfect start for our meal. My guest, after thinking he didn’t like curry, was pleasantly surprised when he learned this mixture of boiled chickpeas, chopped onions, samosa, chaat masala and tamarind, garnished with cilantro, was flavored with curry. He loved it!
His fear or apprehension about Indian food being spicy seems to be somewhat common in our area. However, after talking with our server, my guest cleared up this misconception. Shavan made sure we knew that it can be as spicy as we prefer it, and that there are many mild options to choose from. So, after looking over the menu and learning that he really does like curry, my guest ordered the Tandori Mixed Grill. This mixture of lamb, chicken and shrimp, marinated overnight in yogurt with herbs and spices, was served on a sizzling hot platter after being cooked in a special clay oven at 600 degrees on top of mixed vegetables with basmati rice. This is definitely not something you can try to copy at home and is certainly worth the trip! My guest said that this is something he will be craving on a regular basis and that he would not hesitate to order this perfect blend of flavors again!
I ordered something new and ventured away from my typical Vegetable Masala order, although this saddened me a bit since that has always been my absolute favorite! But, I now have a new favorite after trying the Baingan Bharta. This dish featured a perfect combination of eggplant roasted in tandoor and cooked with fresh tomatoes, green peas, onions and spices, finished with cream. It was filling and perfectly spiced ... and I could not stop eating it despite how full I was! This will be something I get again when I bring in my girlfriends for Ladies Night Out on Tuesdays, when they offer half-price beer, wine and mango lassi. We usually order a few meals and split them while we enjoy the wine. It is always a great time! Monday nights are also a great time to visit, as they offer half-price bottles of wine.
Sai Ram is happy to cater for your group and has a group dining area for your next event.
Try something new and visit Sai Ram the next time you are dining out! I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed. This is the best Indian dining that we have in northeast Wisconsin. Being the winner of the Golden Fork Awards every year from 2002-2012 and Best Overall Ethnic Restaurant winner in 2006, they should be very proud and it speaks for itself!
Thank you for yet another amazing dining experience. You know I will be back!
Tandori Mixed Grill.
Sai Ram Indian Cuisine
253 W. Northland Ave., Appleton
920-733-3003 • SaiRamCuisine.com