This past week we were treated to a visit from our high school friend Abby who lives with her husband Brian in Augusta, Georgia. Abby had informed us that she is a fan of our blog so we decided to take her along with us. NOTE: If there are any other fans of this blog, we will gladly take you along as well, but don’t expect a free meal.
We have heard a lot about Maharaja through Wichita Eagle writer Denise Neil and food websites like urbanspoon.com. Maharaja is located at 3008 W Central. If you know where Riverside Hospital is, it is just west of the hospital. If you noticed the picture you will know that they serve Indian cuisine. I would just like to clarify that Phil had to talk me into this place since I am not a big fan of spicy food. I really had no interest in trying any of the restaurants on our list that serve Indian food because all I ever hear is how spicy it is. Abby, being a good friend, let me know she also isn’t much for spicy food but still enjoyed Indian food. So off we went.
Like many of the places we visit, Maharaja is pretty small, but there were only 4 other customers in the place with us. The inside of the restaurant is adorned with Indian themed artwork and murals. They also had some kicking Indian club music playing, either that or some sort of rap music. I couldn’t discern any English vocabulary being used, so I figured it was what all the kids are dancing to in India these days. Definitely no Robbie Shankar.
All diners are served a tortilla looking chip called a Papadam when they first sit down. It is accompanied by 3 unique dips. The first is a balsamic vinegar type dish, the second had and powerful mint taste to it, and the third was a red chili pepper sauce. I ordered the Seekh Kabob which was described on the menu as “Ground meat with spices, onions, cilantro and grilled in the clay oven.” I also followed Abby’s example of ordering a Mango Lassi to drink. She described it as drinkable mango yogurt. Our drinks came out quickly and were delicious. I had to remind myself to slow down so I wouldn’t drink all of it before the food got there. Abby’s description pretty much hit the nail on the head. I would also use the word smoothie to describe it though. When my food arrived I noticed that my kebabs had already been taken off of the sticks. Now some people may be disappointed by this, however seeing as I am known for being extremely uncoordinated when sharp sticks are around, I was relieved. The kebabs were tasty, but spicy and I was happy that I had saved plenty of my drink because it was extinguishing the fire in my mouth. Now remember I am not a fan of spicy food so other people may find the kebabs much more to their liking because they enjoy the feeling of their tongue being burned off. Phil will tell you that they were not that spicy and the fact that I ate all of them should let you know that they weren’t too hot. I just wouldn’t order them again only for the reason it was too much spice for my taste. I will probably just order a liter of Mango Lassi the next time we go.
Our friend Abby ordered the Chicken Korma and was kind enough to let us sample. I sat there through the rest of the meal envious that I hadn’t ordered the same. The Chicken Korma is very similar to a Thai dish called Pa-Naeng-Neua that Phil is rather partial to. The chicken is covered in a creamy coconut sauce, sprinkled with almonds and cashews, and served with rice. The dish was extremely scrumptious and one that I will order when we go back. The other great thing is that you can choose your “hotness” for the dish so mild food lovers like me can get what we want and those that want to burn their tongues off can get what they want.
I, Phil, ordered the classic Indian dish, Tandoori chicken. The plate came with two chicken thighs and two legs on a bed of sautéed veggies. The chicken was well seasoned, but did not have an overpowering spice to it. I enjoyed the chicken, but too was envious of Abby’s previously mentioned dish. The best part of the meal was the traditional Naan bread that came with Steph and I’s meals. It is a fried flatbread, similar to Native American fry bread. Two large pieces come with each meal.
Overall we liked our experience at Maharaja. The menu is large and filled with dishes that most people are not familiar with, so multiple trips are probably needed to get the complete picture. They have an affordable lunch buffet that I hear is very good, and would be a good way get to sample multiple dishes. The only knock that I have would be the price. The dinner prices were a bit higher than I thought they should be, but you do get a good quantity of food. CAUTION: By the cash register they have a small dish of fennel seed and small candy. This is meant as a pallet cleanser and should only be used in small doses, unless you are a fennel addict or something.