Fairfield County has its fair share of ethnic restaurants, and of those, quite a few offer Indian cuisine. Whether you like your food extremely spicy, middle-of-the-road mild or with practically no heat at all, you don’t have to look far to find an eatery to fill your Indian-inspired needs in the neighborhood.
There is, however, one restaurant that stands out from the pack: Coromandel. Located at the corner of Broad and Summer streets in downtown Stamford (one of six locations throughout Fairfield County and beyond), Coromandel offers aromatic pleasure, aesthetic nuances and captivating food. Coromandel was also recently voted as the Best Indian Cuisine restaurant in “Best of the Gold Coast Connecticut 2010” by readers of Stamford, Westport, New Canaan-Darien-Rowayton, AtHome and Greenwich magazines.
With a menu replete with appetizers, soups, sides, Tandoor SE (from the grill), Seafood (Machli), Chicken (Murgh), Lamb (Gosht) and Vegetarian (Sabji), in addition to various breads and rice dishes, the choices are sublime and plentiful.
A favorite from the appetizer menu is the Murgh 65 with tender chunks of chicken cooked in spices, curry leaves, onions and peppers. While not overwhelmingly spicy, it did have a bit of a kick to it. The smaller pieces of chicken shrapnel—crispy crumbs, really—bore the brunt of the heat, and were tasty little fiery morsels of meat that were difficult to stay away from. Or you could try the Chef’s signature special Sham Savera—vegetable cups filled with homemade cheese served in a honey glazed fennel flavored tomato chutney.
The Chicken Tikka Masala entrée—chicken cooked in a delicious and creamy tomato curry sauce—was rather deceiving in its appearance. While it looked to be mere chicken swimming in soup, it was far more than that. The curry sauce was slightly acidic, thanks to the tomato, but not so much so that it felt as if it would burn a path down the throat. Although it had a few hints of toughness, the chicken was relatively tender and the overall dish was very balanced in flavor.
The real badge of honor goes to the Murgh Tikka Saag. While not the most appetizing looking, this dish was overflowing with luscious chunks of chicken mixed with creamy spinach and garnished with strips of ginger root. Not only were the flavors perfectly melded together in harmony, but the hint of garlic was just enough to add flavor yet not enough to be offensive. The rice at Coromandel was also extremely tender, with each grain being its own separate entity from the next—no clumping, no sticking, no crowding—perfect rice.
Aesthetically, the carpeting and wall treatment throughout Coromandel worked beautifully to buffer any hollow sounds that may have been lingering, and did wonders for soundproofing. The bar area, while tiny and offering only six bar stools, was comfortable looking and was better well-lit than the rest of the restaurant. However, perhaps management wants the flavor of the food to speak for itself, hence, the ridiculously dark mood lighting.
If you’ve never been to Coromandel, do yourself a favor and try one of the many locations for lunch or dinner.
68 Broad Street
Stamford, CT 06901
Coromandel also has sister restaurants in Darien, CT; Newton, CT; South Norwalk, CT; as well as those located outside of Fairfield County in Orange, CT and New Rochelle, NY
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For dining options outside of Fairfield County, be sure to check out my newest column, “International Restaurant Examiner“, where I visit national and international restaurants.