Well, I’ve been branching out and trying the food at more “fusion” style restaurants this past year. I’ve just never been all that impressed with this trend, I feel like it shifts focus away from what makes that style of food great, and tries to be something it isn’t. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you might have noticed that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the fusion restaurants I’ve tried this year. So, I shifted my focus and have been trying to consider the food and not the style. Garland is an Indian Fusion focused restaurant. In the summer, they have a take-out window where you can just walk up and order your food to go! What a cool idea. The location is right smack in the middle of downtown, close enough to Bittersweet that you can just walk there after dinner.
14 W. Martin St., Raleigh NC
Overall: 3.75 out of 5
Food/Beverage: 4 out of 5
Ambiance: 4 out of 5
Value: 3 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
For ladies night, we got all dolled up and headed downtown to Garland. The inside is beautiful! The murals and painting were all done by a local artist. It is a little bit loud inside, and the bar area is crammed right into the dining area. Made me a little claustrophobic. We made a reservation for 8pm, got there right on time, and had to wait almost 30 minutes for our table. So, while we waited, we bellied up to the bar for a drink.
They have a great bar menu. The wine list had some very interesting choices and the cocktails menu had a great variety of items. We ended up ordering the Newton’s Fall ($11.00 Spiced Jamaican Rum, port, apples, cointreau and lime) and the Shipwrecked ($12 Oloroso, Rye whisky, black cardamom syrup, absinthe, cardamom tincture and salt). Both were made quickly and recommended highly by the bartenders. While I enjoyed the Newton’s Fall, the Shipwrecked was the real star of the show. When it came time to order a second drink, we all went for the Shipwrecked.
After hearing rave reviews about the Cauliflower 65, I am pleased to report, it is as good as they say! For $8.00, you get a good sized portion of well spiced cauliflower. It’s tossed in a mix of turmeric-yogurt sauce, curry leaves, fresh chiles, lime, and cilantro. It’s gluten free, but you’d never miss it. This was my favorite dish of the night.
The Moroccan Hummus was the other dish we ordered ($8). The portion was a good size, good enough for 4 of us to share. This was a combination of stewed moroccan chickpeas, sesame, house made creme fraiche, pickled onions, popped jasmine rice, spanish olive oil and what seemed like fresh tortilla chips. The chips were outstanding. Very crispy and fresh. The hummus itself was very interesting and not at all what any of us expected. We all enjoyed it.
For my meal, I ordered two small plates, one of which was the Tteokbokki ($6.00). This was probably one of the most unique dishes I’ve tasted in a long time. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was very different than anything I could have imagined. They were sticky, sweet and spicy all at the same time. The menu described them as hand-rolled Korean rice sticks, spicy gochujang sauce, roasted jasmine rice and sesame seeds. The sauce was almost like a sriracha barbecue sauce combo and the texture was similar to a marshmallow – I know, that sounds strange, but trust me it worked.
The other dish I ordered was called Bhel Puri ($7.00). I’d like to call it the “what’s left in the pantry dinner.” It’s a chaat of puffed crunchy mix, diced potatoes, cucumbers, local tomatoes, jicima, local greens, peanuts, cilantro and tamarind-mint chutney. It was very dry. I think may be the chutney was left off or was used sparingly because I didn’t taste it. The potatoes were chopped very very small and were in limited quantity. The dish was overwhelmed by the chaat of puffed crunchy mix (or what tasted like Kashi cereal). I ate it and was full after, but wouldn’t order it again.
One of the other members of our party ordered the House made lamb sausage ($14.00). This included cherry “mostarda”, smoked almonds, pickled lemon, house-made mustard and some crostini. It was a large portion and was very tasty! The almonds were very smoky and delicious, and the dipping sauces went very well with the sausage. This is a dish I would order again.
Overall, I would be happy to go again! The prices were a little high for some items, but there were so many things that I would like to try on the menu. They have a great variety of gluten free, vegetarian and meat eaters dishes on the menu os you could be confident taking just about anyone there.