Kinks a-plenty 

Taj Mahal shows promise, but no consistency.

click to enlarge CHICKEN KEEMA NAAN: Taj Mahal offers excellent food, but service is lacking.
  • CHICKEN KEEMA NAAN: Taj Mahal offers excellent food, but service is lacking.

We have been waiting with some anticipation for the opening of Taj Mahal. After all, it takes chutzpah to open a brand new Indian restaurant within a block of another and within a mile of a third.

Unfortunately, even after the restaurant opened, we had to wait some more. Menu service was unavailable for more than a month. Every time we stopped by for the buffet, we were told menus were just a few days away. Once when we were describing items on a buffet, the host asked if we could write down our descriptions. We had started to downgrade our high hopes for Taj Mahal.

Recently, the restaurant finally debuted its full menu. Much of what we sampled showed promise, but Taj Mahal continued to struggle with service.

On our first visit, our dining companions raved over the number of selections and the number of selections not available at other local Indian restaurants, such as Karahi chicken and goat Palak.

Service lagged. Maybe 25 minutes after we arrived, we got our drink orders. Fifteen minutes later, our waiter took our food orders, but tamped down our frustration with an appetizer of cumin papadum with two sauces — a very spicy-sweet tamarind sauce and a creamy dill-cilantro sauce. These received high raves.

Our entrees started to arrive some 30 minutes later, in bits and bobs. There was some confusion on the part of the wait staff as to who had ordered what, but for the most part we received what we had originally selected, though we had to ask repeatedly for napkins. As for the food, we were especially pleased by the mixed grill ($21.95). Advertised as a combination of shish kebab and chicken kebab with vegetables "served with our famous white sauce," we were confused when we received a sizzling hot platter that contained not only the kebabs but pieces of tandoori chicken, tandoori shrimp and Seekh Kebab as well. The "famous white sauce" was nowhere to be found. Still, we rather enjoyed the shrimp and the two varieties of chicken. The seekh kebab was very strong on mint and lime flavors, and the chunks of lamb shish kebab were delightfully charred on the outside yet pot-roast tender on the inside.

Two of our companions chose the chicken vindaloo ($12.95), one the regular order and one spicy. The regular vindaloo had a rather pungent kick of heat to it; the strongly spicy one actually caused our friend with the high spice tolerance to jump at the heat. We laughed at his immediate sweat, but admired his tenacity for finishing the dish.

The lamb korma ($15.95) was another spicy dish. At other local Indian restaurants, it's a sweet, mild dish; here it had a significant heat that went straight to the sinuses.

One companion chose the kahari chicken ($12.50), advertised as "boneless chicken sauteed with onions, garlic, ginger, green peppers, and tomatoes in a wok to produce a uncommonly delicious dish, flavored with herbs and spices." She was overwhelmed with the spicy nature of the dish, and when she asked our waiter about it he went right back and had the order redone in a milder version.

There were some mix-ups — one diner received a kahari chicken instead of the chicken curry ordered. The rice to accompany our dishes came out very late. But we did find some great dishes, including the chicken keema naan — naan stuffed with ground chicken and spices — that were irresistible.

In all, the food at Taj Mahal is first rate and on the spicy side, but the slow service and the learning curve of the wait staff must improve before we can truly recommend it. After more than a month, the kinks should have already been worked out.

Taj Mahal

1520 Market St. (Market Street Shopping Center)


Quick bite

Taj Mahal offers a lunch buffet for $8.99 that regularly includes four meat and four vegetarian hot dishes, rice, samosas, a couple of desserts and fresh fruit. Hot naan is brought right to the table. We found it to be a much better deal than evening service, though we still wonder if there will be more than just chicken offered in their hot meat dish selection.


11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Other info

Taj Mahal is on the pricey side. Beer and wine served.


From the ArkTimes store


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Dining Review

  • Right at the corner

    The Restaurant at the Market dishes up date-night deliciousness.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Tastes right

    But Brave New needs a tune-up.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • La Ha forever

    The newly spiffed-up Mexican favorite still warms hearts, bellies.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Right at the corner

    • Your review matches our experiences. Eric, LouAnn, and occasionally Bubba all truly make one feel…

    • on September 21, 2017
  • Re: Tastes right

    • 'Diogenes - I'm glad you've had good meals there. However on Saturday May 28th 2011…

    • on September 20, 2017
  • Re: Tastes right

    • Big Fun you seem to be suffering from Pteronarcophobia :-)

    • on September 20, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation