I was thrilled to see that an Indian restaurant would replace the now defunct Thom’s on Grandview, but was a little curious to see how an ethnic eatery would do in the suburban area overrun with bar food, Italian eateries, pizza places and burger joints.
And to be honest, the marketer in me questioned the name of the new restaurant: Aab India Restaurant. Were the double “A’s” in the name an old-school gimmick to get the place to the front of the yellow pages? A friend and I stopped in for a visit shortly after it opened, to get some answers.
Aab, our server told us, means river, source of water, source of life. The restaurant was named in reference to the owners’ origin in India, where five rivers, including the iconic river Chenab meet. The Chenab river is, quite literally a source of water and life for those nearby. Humbled by the real answer to my pessimistic assumptions, I looked forward to my meal.
Aab India Restaurant has a full bar. I overlooked the cocktails and wines in favor of a Kingfisher Lager, one of a few Indian beers on the menu. I wasn’t that impressed, but then again, India isn’t really known for their beer.
They are, however, known for their samosas. I’m a sucker for fried anything, and am happy that most cultures offer some variety of this dish.
Filled with savory ground beef, onions and peas, the samosas were perfect.
The only thing that could make them better? Sauces. Our server brought us a trio of sauces to complement: tamarind, mint and lemongrass and an onion chutney. All were lovely, but I preferred the latter of the three.
My friend and I ordered chicken curry and chicken tikka masala, respectively. Both came with warm chapati and rice. And both were excellent. There is one (delightful) gimmick about Aab India Restaurant, one that I find very helpful. The menu features a graph that encourages the customer to order any dish to the spiciness of his or her choosing. As someone who does not like spicy-spicy food, I was happy to be able to enjoy the taste of my meal without wincing in pain. I ordered my masala to be made with the mildest of spices, and did not feel silly doing so.
As a result, I was able to enjoy the texture and flavor of the accompanying rice, instead of using it to diffuse heat, as I’ve often done in the past. This ordering style makes Indian cuisine a little less daunting to those venturing away from the area’s burgers and pasta for the first time.
I’ll close with one oddity about the place. Maybe it was the time of day that we went, but the place was fully staffed with at least ten visible employees, while most of the tables were empty. My past-server heart ached for the bored employees, and I found myself hoping that the seats would soon be filled. Far from India, this restaurant on Grandview Avenue will only be a source of life for those involved if people come through those doors.
Aab India Restaurant
1470 Grandview Ave