Review-The Blue Taj in Charlotte
Last weekend my husband and I traveled to Charlotte to see some friends. When it was time for dinner, we had a plethora of places to choose from. We finally settled on trying out a place in Ballentyne Village, in the southeastern part of Charlotte called the Blue Taj.
This is a mixed-use community with a thriving commercial center that features a movie theatre, lots of unique shops and restaurants. Tucked inside the lower level of the circular building where the movie complex is located is the Blue Taj. Even from the outside, we knew this place was going to be special. The blue lighting gives the place a techno feel. The Blue Taj specializes in food from Northern India.
Upon entering the restaurant, there is a huge wine cellar encased in glass in the front. The flowing orange drapes and the cream and orange colored walls give the place a modern and upscale feeling. The source of the blue glowing lighting comes from the bar, which is situated in the back of the restaurant. We later discovered that there are different rooms with different themes in each part of this restaurant. There is even an outdoor seating area for times when the weather is decent. This place was buzzing with activity, even though we didn’t arrive until after 8pm. In fact, the place kept getting more crowded as the evening went on.
One of our friends had never tried Indian food before, so we knew this would be a treat. The waiter was one of the best wait staff I have seen in a long time. He took time out to explain many of the dishes to our friends and gave suggestions from each page of the menu. He never had to write down our order and was very attentive throughout the night.
We started our meal with the Masala-Chili Cauliflower Florets. The cauliflower was roasted in the oven and coated with a garlic, soy and scallion glaze. It had enough heat to make your mouth buzz just a little bit. We all wanted more, but knew the best was yet to come. Two of us also had to have a mango lassi, which is a drink made of mango juice and keffir (an ingredient similar to yogurt). It is like a mango smoothie. They were so tasty that we both finished the drink before our entrees arrived.
My friends had the Chicken Makhni, which was chicken thighs in a tomato sauce. The thighs were pounded to make them more tender, then roasted in the oven with some spices. This was the person who had never had Indian food, so we encouraged him to order the mild version. He loved it.
Our other friend had the Chicken Tikka Masala, which was big pieces of roasted chicken breast meat and a mixture of vegetables served in a creamy tomato sauce and scented with fenugreek. The spices were a nice combination that didn’t overwhelm your senses, but had a good zap to it.
My husband had the Lamb and Goat Curry, which featured a coconut-curry leaf flavored sauce. It was a combination of the sweetness of the coconut and the heat of the curry, but was again not too overpowering in the heat department.
I ordered the Chicken Tangdi Korma. I love a good korma. This is chicken thigh meat that has been simmered in a cashew cream sauce and cardamom. The menu said it had Iris essence as well, though I could not discern a taste of Iris in the dish.
We ordered some Naan bread for the table as well and the bread was very fresh and soft. It was a great tool to use to sop up some of the great sauces each of us had.
There were a great assortment of vegetarian dishes, and some very interesting sounding desserts and a whole selection of Tawa, and Tandoori dishes, but we just didn’t have room to try anything else that night. Maybe this is a good excuse to travel back to Charlotte to try some more food at the Blue Taj.
We were interested to find out that the owners of the Blue Taj are related to the people who own the Mint in Chapel Hill (review coming soon) and the Saffron in Greensboro.
The Blue Taj is definitely a great place to take someone out for a date, or a special night out. The prices were on par for an upscale Indian restaurant. The Blue Taj is open seven days a week for dinner and six days a week for lunch (no lunch service on Saturday).