Sunday, December 11, 2011

Veg Out: Tashan.

Our table at Tashan should have been a very easy table to please.

1. We all deeply enjoy and are enthusiastic about Indian food.

2. Two of us are Tiffin regulars.

3. We love food and want to have a good time.

4. We all read the 3 bell review and were even more excited about our meal there.

Well, our experience was not as smooth. When you're paying a certain price point for your meal, you expect a higher level of service. Remembering simple details is important. If you have a table of 4 vegans and 1 non-vegan, make a note and communicate that with your runners. It wasn't even our dietary specifications (which we had to re-iterate throughout the meal), it was the overall inattentiveness and forgetfulness that resonated throughout our poorly paced, rushed meal. All of dishes we ordered came out at the same time. We could have eaten and left in 5 minutes.

Except our naan was delayed because we had ordered two baskets, one vegan and one regular. It did not appear until after we had finished our food and miscommunication between the server and her two runners and the kitchen. Then dessert service took forever and we were left waiting for tea and the two coffees we had ordered arrived by the time the tea-drinkers had finished. We had to ask 3 times to see a tea selection. One of the coffee cups was still wet inside, so that sugar had crusted and stuck to the bottom, rock hard. Dishes were not explained and one of our party almost took a bite of paneer thinking it was potato in the darkly lit room. We had asked for no paneer in the dishes. Not once did our server ask how anything was and I'm sure she overheard some of our complaints and yet she did not ask about our experience or make any attempt to smooth it over.

Considering the wonderful vegan meal for 5 that had been delivered flawlessly with a flick of the wrist at New York's Junoon, Indian dining at some of its finest, we were left feeling cold.

Considering that we could have wandered a few blocks away to Circles for the city's best thai, at a fraction of the price and received much better service in a much more modest dining room, we were left feeling cheated.

Considering that the food at Tashan was very promising and flavorful and inspired in a fun setting, that the service could so cloud our meal was striking.

If you do make the trip to Tashan, some of the dishes we enjoyed best: Clay-baked Potato Chaat (a nice delivery system for sampling the chutney), Aloo Tikki, and the Gol Gappa (shown), durum puffs filled with potato and drizzled with mint-cilantro water.


Nicole said...

I was disappointed when I saw your comment on twitter -- I live a few blocks from Tashan and I've been nagging my husband about going there since they opened. Nothing ruins a meal for me like bad service does. Especially at that price point. What a bummer.

A and J said...

Oh noo :( That sounds terrible. I absolutely HATE when a multi-course meal is brought out all at the same time. Especially when you're spending $$$.. it should be an experience not a speed eating session. The food looks awesome but now I'm not so sure I want to go.

kellywhitephillips said...

Let me know how your experiences are if you do go. I really am hesitant to go back, not when there are so many amazing places in Philly and we have great Indian cuisine elsewhere.

Nicole said...

We had an early dinner here on Saturday night. I'm happy to report that our experience was memorable and not at all disappointing. But still, being capable of off-service is concerning to me. Especially given that there are managers and various waitstaff everywhere. The timing of our meal was appropriate and we never felt rushed in any way.
My only complaint-- I could have used some more heat. My server told me that next time I can request some chili paste be brought out.
We chose to sit at the bar -- which is usually my strategy if I'm feeling uncertain about a place. Maybe our experience would have been different had we been seated at a table.