Cheap Eats: Lunch At Tashan

It’s not often that an Indian meal makes you think of a hamburger—much less a really good one—but that’s what happened to me during a recent lunch at Tashan.

It was the Kobe kebob roll at Munish Narula’s high-end restaurant that did it, boasting a wickedly intense beefiness that momentarily reminded me of The Dandelion’s burger. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had one of those chuck/short rib/hanger steak/aged-NY-strip beauties (which of course has a wildly different profile than Tashan’s garam masala-and-chili-spiced kebob), but great beef is great beef. Even if you find it at an Indian restaurant.

You usually don’t, of course. What with Hinduism and all. But Tashan isn’t your traditional Indian place—a fact that has sparked unusual degrees of both acclaim and antipathy among Philadelphia eaters.

There’s no reason to rehash those arguments, but if your own personal beef with Tashan derives from its inarguably high dinner prices, you should absolutely try it for lunch. It costs $8 or $10, and mine was worth every penny. That kebob, wrapped in naan fresh out of the tandoor, was the real deal—and so, surprisingly, were the accompanying masala-spiced fries. The shrimp in my Kerala-style curry were exquisitely cooked—even if I wouldn’t have minded some more heat (and maybe a few curry leaves) in the sauce, which featured some of the sweetest and juiciest shallots I can remember. Throw in some basmati rice, hot naan, and a stupendously crispy vegetable samosa, and $10 qualified as a steal. A mustardy baingan bhartaa was a worthy centerpiece of another square-meal lunch special.

And a surprisingly filling one, too, given the restaurant’s emphasis on refinement. You might not even have room for dessert—though once again, at $3, your wallet certainly will.

Tashan [Official]