Review: Shaan India

Ah, Indian food. There’s probably no one cuisine I crave more. Throughout our relationship, it’s been my goal to make The Better Half like Indian food. So far, I’ve been pretty successful. I make Tandoori-style chicken at home, and he has actually said to me, “Hey, can we get Indian today?” This is a huge improvement from our early days, when he’d barely walk down Ludlow Avenue. So now we get to figure out what the best Indian in town is– a fun task.

Shaan India has been recommended to me by several people, particularly @ameetchimote, who swears it’s his favorite in town (and almost as good as his own Indian cooking). High praise. So one Sunday, we headed over to Oakley to try it out.

Shaan is in Hyde Park Plaza, on the opposite side from Kroger. It’s strip-mall chic on the outside, but the inside is comfortable and warm. The owner will greet you at the door and, if like us, you have someone new to Indian food in your party, he’ll help the newbie personally to pick out the best bits on the buffet (they do have a sit-down menu, but the buffet looked good and had gotten good reviews, so we braved it).

As I pointed out different things to try, the owner came up to Terry and asked, “Have you had a samosa chaat?” He hadn’t, so the owner grabbed a samosa, cut off the top, and covered it with chickpeas, tamarind chutney, mint chutney, and raita. Terry gobbled it up, and I doubt he’ll ever eat a samosa “dry” ever again.  I won’t either– I hadn’t had one prepared that way before, but it was delicious.

I sent a tweet to Ameet saying I was there, and he suggested the goat, so among other things, we tried the following:

  • goat curry (delicious, tender and rich)
  • tandoori chicken (moist, well-spiced, and plenty of grilled onions)
  • a richly spiced saag paneer, probably a 3 or 4 on a scale from 1-10, but much spicier than most places.  It was excellent
  • Butter chicken which was, again, moist and flavorful

If you want to add more spice, there were several kinds of chili to add to your dishes, as well as some spicy chutneys (Madras onion in particular– hot!).  Many of the choices were very typical, but the thing I noticed was how often everything was monitored– nothing stayed on the buffet too long, nothing got dry or congealed or any of the other typical caveats to buffet dining.

I can’t wait to go back to Shaan– not just for the excellent food (I’d like to try the dinner menu instead of the buffet) but also because of how warm and informative the entire staff is.  It’s great for those of us who are familiar with Indian cuisine, and even better for those who aren’t quite comfortable with it yet.  I’ll have to go again to determine if it’s my number on Indian restaurant, but it’s certainly in the top three.

Shaan Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

  • http://www.eatwithflourpower.com becky

    great to hear! I have been driving by it for a while wondering if I should try it…

  • Debbie

    My son and I ate there this past Friday, after taking him for a haircut in the Plaza. We also love Indian Food and had never been there.
    I thought the Tandoori chicken was excellent, some of the best I had. The Saag Paneer was good as well. I appreciated the monitoring of the buffet and the food was indeed served freshly made and hot, which was a very pleasant surprise. I was a little disappointed in the Chicken Tikka Masala which was mostly sauce and onion, and very little chicken. The Chicken Vindaloo had a nice touch of spice which was pleasant to find on a buffet. The service was wonderful and we will definitely return.

  • AK

    The Beau and I have eaten at Shaan a few times; the ginger kadai chicken is particularly good (and unique!). I’d about rate their food over Baba (the other local favorite), and the staff is super nice; the only thing that keeps us from being consistent Shaan customers is the lack of an alcohol license. Our favorite is to go order carryout from Baba and enjoy a Kingfisher while we wait :) I’m glad you enjoyed! As a fellow Indian enthusiast I’d like to also encourage others to give Shaan a try!

  • RNB

    Although I LOVE Ambar and look forward to trying DuMesh, this is my favorite Indian place close to home (Hyde Park.) Everything is cheaper than Baba India in Oakley and the owner is SO nice. He remembers me as soon as I call every few weeks and smiles as soon as I walk in… the chicken makhani is wonderful and on Saturdays they offer a discount on all chicken dishes, dine-in or take-out. Lastly, they have a punch card – I believe the offer is 10th meal free. Great place, glad you tried it, Julie! :)