Nirvana Indian Cuisine
4308 Magazine St,
New Orleans, LA 70115
Nirvana is the first Indian food I've tried in New Orleans. I learned quite a bit about Indian cuisine and cooking during my interlude in the Sunny Climes, which unfortunately (or fortunately) turned me into a total snob. I can now throw together a curry without even thinking about it, but I also recall (with great pleasure) spending 2 bucks on a delicious two course dinner in Bangalore. I need to get over it.
Nirvana happens to be very close to my house, so my friend Amanda (who is awesome, likes food, and lives near me SCORE) came to meet with me at the restaurant. It's really quite nice inside: an excellent date place as long as you're dating someone who is down with garlic, and you really shouldn't be dating otherwise, should you?
Amanda is a vegetarian, and I happen to be down with the vegetables myself....ignore my past posts about the many subtle pleasures of pork please...so we stuck with the vegetarian bit of the menu. This being an Indian restaurant, it was substantial. All the standard Indian specialities are offered here, along with a couple of chaat dishes and a nice selection of tandoori items, which did look quite nice at the other tables. They even have boti kebab masala, which is one of my very favorite things.
The bhindi masala ($11.95) was spicy. slightly crispy, and really very good: reminded me of the excellent version I get at the Pakistani place near my house. Still, the economist in me railed at spending 11 bucks on a (tasty) dish that I can make in roughly 15 minutes at home for three bucks. I really need to get over this. It was good.
We also tried the mushroom masala ($11.95) which was a tasty, light rendition. Some restaurants figure the word "masala" means they are free to layer on heart-stopping quantities of cream and grease and whatnot on the innocent primary ingredient, which is always very offputting. This was not the case here, and we enjoyed the dish, although it could have been a little more exciting. Portions sizes are also small here, which is kind of irritating when paying premium prices.
Naan was delish and rich. There's a wide variety of interesting naans on the menu which I shall have to sample. We had a fairly non-descript side salad. I managed to get the server to bring me some tamarind imli and some mint chutney and salty pickle, although they had no fruit chutney. Boo. I know the stuff is so very British Empire but damn, it is tasty.
But I shall get off my Thrifty College Student high horse: Nirvana offers a 10 dollar buffet a couple days of week which sounds like an absolute bargain. And I will return for that. I am generally very anti-buffet but Indian food seems to stand up to such treatment better then most. As long as there are not too many profoundly stoned Tulane students in the room to hoover up all the food.
(Tulane students never ever get stoned. This is a known fact and I should not slander my alma mater.)
Amanda and I finished off the evening by wandering a ways down Magazine Street. We spotted a whole lot of tasty looking restaurants and vowed to return. Cafe Rani especially looked promising: an entire menu of items mostly under ten bucks! Healthy food! Interesting food! The economist in me is overjoyed!