Web Original: Critic’s Notebook: New, Not Improved

Minar Palace, originally slated to debut in its new Walnut Street location months ago, is now finally open for business. But, a lot has changed in the Indian food scene in Philadelphia since the restaurant’s original location closed shop on Sansom Street back in 2006. While it was gone, the city got used to the likes of Tiffin, Bindi and Palace at the Ben.

Yes, the new Minar Palace is a lot more polished than its old hole-in-the-wall storefront. The Walnut Street restaurant is set up like a McDonald’s; there’s an overhead menu above the cashier and your meal is dished up in paper plates on a plastic cafeteria tray. But, I tried mali kofta (vegetable dumplings) and chicken vindaloo — two of my favorite dishes — and neither was adequately sauced. The kofta dish lacked creaminess, while the vindaloo lacked heat. The naan tasted store bought, though the gobi paratha (wheat bread stuffed with cauliflower) was a highlight.