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June 22, 2007 / Tony

Passage to India Restaurant Review

casey-and-scott.jpg

 At a recent lunch, some co-workers (pictured above) and I went to Passage to India.  It is an Indian restuarant with a lunch buffet and an a la carte dinner menu. 

The atmosphere of the restaurant is pleasantly roomy.  The tables and booths are spaced far enough away from each other that you never feel as if you are sharing your table with your fellow patrons.  The decorations are kept to a minimum but tastefully impart an Indian atmosphere.  The otherwise starkly white walls add a feeling of cleanliness and calm. 

The buffet was populated with a nice variety of dishes.  There was basmati rice, tomato rice, Chicken Tiki Masala, Chicken Curry, Vegetable Curry, Mutter Paneer, Tandoori Chicken, Chilly Chicken, a small western style salad bar, batter-fried eggplant and potato cakes, assorted dipping sauces, and a few Indian-style desserts. 

The food was almost uniformly delightful.  My favorite was the Chicken Curry.  In that dish, exceptionally tender and moist chunks of chicken (many of which were of substantial size) were surrounded by a mild but flavorful curry sauce that was lightened by just a hint of lemon juice.  Almost as good was the Chilly Chicken which consisted of deep-fried, battered chicken pieces in a brightly flavored, chile-based sauce.  What made this dish so very good was its ability to balance the heat of the chiles in the sauce with the variety of Indian spices and the chicken.  It just skirted on the edge of being too spicy while retaining the fullness of flavor that is indiciative of Indian cuisine.  Also excellent was the Naan.  This is an Indian flatbread that is cooked in a tandoori oven.  Their Naan managed to be tender, just a little crisp, and perfectly charred all at the same time.  The pictures below are of the Naan and the result of one of my trips to the buffet.

 2nd-plate-2.jpg                 naan.jpg

The Chicken Tiki Masala, however, was not quite perfect.  It was flavorful in its tomato-based sauce but the tandoori-cooked chicken came out just a little dry.  The fried vegetables were probably well-prepared but did not stand up well to sitting under the heat lamp of the buffet.  And the desserts-Rice Kheer (rice pudding with cardamom) and Carrot Halwa (shredded carrots in a sweetened milk sauce)-were edible at best.  Perhaps they are very authentic, however, and I just don’t know it. 

As a whole, however, Passage to India is nearly a perfect mix of excellent service, excellent food, and exoticism.  Every time I have been there, I have been impressed with the quality of my dining experience.  I can say with no hesitation that this is my favorite place to eat in the Fargo-Moorhead area.  It is local, fresh, exciting, and, most importantly, able to consistently serve outstanding food. 

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2 Comments

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  1. Katelyn / Jun 22 2007 4:32 pm

    Okay I am definetely checking this place out, sounds impressive!

  2. Jeff / Jun 11 2008 5:30 pm

    I have been to India a few times and have also eaten at Indian restaurants in many other cities in the US. From my experience, Passage is a good place for Indian food, and certainly the best the FM area has to offer. I agree with the review given, although I would personally rank chili chicken as my favorite (the appetizer one, which is “dry”, rather than the full meal version, which is wet). Highly recommended.

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