It is slightly ironic to name a restaurant after that great fountain of wisdom Mahatama Gandhi. He was a huge proponent of raw food and had many nutritional ideas that were less than accurate such as this gem, “Condiments such as chillies, pepper, turmeric, coriander, mustard, and fenugreek should be avoided, unless prescribed by a doctor.” Sorry Gandhi, but that kind of makes you sound like an a-hole. But despite Gandhi probably not wanting to eat at any of the hundreds of restaurants named after him, Cal and I did want to eat at Gandhi Cuisine of India.
Gandhi is located at Stone and Ft. Lowell in a nondescript shopping center but once inside the soothing sea foam green walls and muggy atmosphere transport you to another land. Maybe not all the way to India, but perhaps Florida or South Carolina. There is some nice Indian art on the walls and, for some reason, a poorly framed print of one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The waiter and waitresses were very nice, the waitresses dressed in traditional Indian attire and the waiter in a skin tight lime green Yankees shirt. Turns out he was really a baseball fan because toward the end of the meal he told Cal, who was wearing his D-Backs hat, that the Diamondbacks lost. After I told him how well the Royals were doing lately, he said, “They used to be good didn’t they?” Yes, they did, Indian restaurant waiter, yes they did.
Onto the food. I started with a bowl of mulligatawny soup. Mulligatawny has gone through many incantations over the years. It was originally kind of a pepper broth but the English ruined it by taking the chili pepper out of it and making it a blunter soup with less heat. It’s still good, however and Gandhi has a pretty nice version even if they spell it mulligatani. Theirs is a chicken and lentil soup in a creamy curry broth. It could have used a little extra kick. Cal began with some chicken pakora but immediately wished that he had ordered fish or shrimp. He definitely should have. The light pakora batter while, not greasy was not the best fit for the chicken. They felt heavy. Shrimp or fish would have made for a lighter taste and thus a better appetizer.
For his entree, Cal ordered Seekh Kebab. It is a ground lamb sausage with herbs and spices. It comes removed from the skewers with a side of rice, dal, and raita.
They had a deep earthy flavor more indicative of a lamb instead of a pork sausage. Cal saved half of it to take it home to make a sandwich. Cal is a connoisseur of leftover food always looking for a new way to eat something. I think it’s all the pot he smokes.
I ordered the madras with shrimp. Madras is a blend of tomatoes, onions and cream. It’s a differently spiced curry. I asked for them to make it crazy hot. That was the menu option, Mild, Regular, Hot, Very Hot, or Crazy Hot. It was pretty hot, but certainly not “crazy” hot. The shrimp were well cooked and every bite resulted in a warm burst of the spicy, rich tomato broth.
We ordered naan but never got it. The waiter asked us if we wanted naan after he took our order but Cal said no, then I said, well bring us one order and then he got confused. I’m pretty sure we didn’t pay for it so it must have been an honest mistake.
Gandhi has a lunch buffet which I’m sure induces a nap within an hour of eating there, plus it’s only six dollars. The food was pretty good, but I suspect there’s better Indian food elsewhere, maybe not in Tucson but somewhere. I give Gandhi 7.75 bowls of mulligatawny soup, even if Gandhi himself probably wouldn’t eat there.