Urban Turban – Bombay Kitchen and Tapas Bar
In an ultra-competitive restaurant business in and around the Strip corridor, another Indian restaurant – Urban Turban Indian cuisine opened its doors to the locals and tourists alike.
My wife and I, along with friends decided to try Urban Turban for their culinary offerings. We were there on Friday evening to have a decent Indian meal. During the two hours we were there total of six small groups dined at the newly opened joint.
Once there we were welcomed by a very courteous hostess. The Indian three-wheeler auto rickshaw on display at the entrance reminds of the commute on the chaotic streets of any major Indian city. Once inside, the open modern kitchen concept is a welcome change compared to the backroom kitchen in other Indian restaurants in the valley. However, the dining area reminded me of a characterless college dining hall with a capacity for over hundred diners. The steel chairs were uncomfortable and was a turnoff before we even sat down. It’s difficult to envisage having an evening dinner experience siting on a steel chair unless you’re in a fast food restaurant.
The eclectic non-vegetarian menu fails to offer vegetarian diners a reason to visit this new joint. The menu listed only two vegetarian main course dishes – yellow dal and palak paneer along with few vegetarian appetizers. For the evening, we decided to begin with the traditional appetizers – Paneer Tikka and Mushrooms Sweet Garlic. Grilled paneer had a thin coating of flavorless sauce while mushrooms in sweet garlic sauce was well prepared with good combination of spices. Appetizers serving size was decent, however, the kitchen staff forgot to add the serving spoons.
For the main course we ordered from Urban Turban’s bottomless curries menu – Dal Tadka, Palak Paneer Masala, Egg Curry along with a Pesto Chili Salmon from their Classic menu. Dal Tadka was laden with salt while palak paneer curry had different paneer quality in the same bowl. Some paneer cubes were soft while the other cubes were very hard. Two whole boiled hard eggs in runny & watery gravy did not get enough flavors infused inside the eggs. The better would have been a half slit eggs in thicker gravy. All entrees were accompanied with a bowl of not fully cooked rice. Rice was not fluffy and was plain white with no character. The menu stated small green salad with the above entrees but there was NO salad in sight with any of the above ordered entrees. However, there were two penny size pieces of mango pickle. Interestingly bottomless curries do not include additional rice or nans. You go and figure out how to enjoy additional bowl of your curry without a Nan or rice. Bottomless curries seem to be just a marketing gimmick to excite the diners.
No Green Salads, Half Cooked Rice with pickle thrown in the plate
Indian restaurant serving Salmon with pesto is a dramatic change from the traditional Indian restaurant offerings. Although the Salmon was well cooked but conspicuously missing was pesto from the entrée.
Check the picture below – can you find any pesto on this Salmon entrée.
The much inspired complexity and blend of spices in Indian cooking was ostensibly missing from all the items we ordered.
After a lackluster dinner we decided to just settle the bill and call off the night. However, one individual in our group was eager to try on to Urban’s dessert selections. We browsed the dessert section and surprisingly we found that there were no Indian desserts on the menu. The selection included Mango Lassi and Masala Chai. Management must understand that Mango Lassi and Masala Chai are not considered a dessert. One item in particular, Chocolate Samosa caught our eye. Although Chocolate is not an Indian dessert and Samosa is an appetizer we still decided to give a try. Chocolate samosa described in the menu as “filled with dark chocolate”. This was another disappointment as the filo pastry wasn’t filled at all. There was probably one Hershey Kisses sandwiched between the two skinny filo pastry sheets. It was more of a plain generic vanilla ice cream than a “chocolate samosa”.
Not a Chocolate or a Samosa, just change the name to “Plain Vanilla”
On a positive note, the service was somewhat better than the other Indian restaurants in the valley. Ed, our server was attentive & hospitable and answered most of our queries. We appreciated that the Manager and Chef stopped by to enquire about our experience. We told them our honest & constructive criticism on the taste, the servings, undercooked rice and the missing pesto with mishmash flavors. The chef, who came from Urban Turban’s sister property in Auckland, New Zealand, to open Las Vegas restaurant apologized for the poor quality. His excused was that he is currently in a process of training a new chef from India for the local Urban Turban. I wonder why someone will open a restaurant without having a trained chef and that too in a hyper competitive Las Vegas market. Manager was very apologetic and compensated us by not charging for the desserts and complimented us with ice cream and two paan shots.
Paan Shots…paan/bettle nut flavors infused with milk
The newly opened Urban Turban is located at 3900 Paradise Rd. – Suite G, Las Vegas, NV 89169 Phone: 702-209-0930 www.urbanturbanlv.com