Make us your home page
Instagram

Popular Tampa restaurant brings Indian dishes to Spring Hill

SPRING HILL — By popular demand, a restaurant that has been serving up authentic northern Indian food for 22 years in Tampa has brought its ethnic dishes to Hernando County.

And diners at Taj Indian Cuisine, 13031 Cortez Blvd. in Western Way Plaza, will find the atmosphere decidedly upscale: table linens, crystal goblets, satin and lace drapes, muted background music.

"There are a lot of Indian doctors here," said Ramesh Kumar, co-owner of the restaurant with his wife, Ritu Samrala. "Fifteen of them come weekly to Tampa. We finally found a place here."

Kumar said those 15 families all dined at the new restaurant over its initial weekend recently.

"They said we have saved them an hour's trip each weekend," said a smiling Kumar, schooled in the kitchen by his father, who has operated a thriving restaurant in Punjab for 40 years.

Dishes of northern India are characterized by their cooking in clay ovens, Kumar explained. Even grilling is accomplished in a clay oven, fueled with charcoal. Naan, unleavened bread, is traditionally baked by throwing pats of dough against the oven walls. At Taj, naan can be ordered deep-fried as well.

Indian seasonings define both meat and vegetarian dishes, Kumar pointed out. Seasonings tend toward the aromatic, spicy, sweet and colorful. They range from coriander through cumin, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric and saffron.

The chefs at Taj concoct and grind together their own spice blends, known as garam masala, distinctively flavoring curry dishes.

"Everybody can eat," Kumar said of the even-handed seasoning of the menu offerings. Diners may order "mild" or "extra spicy."

The restaurant also makes its own paneer, a tofulike fresh cottage cheese, he said, popularly served at Taj combined with various vegetables, served deep-fried or in a vegetable sauce.

Menus are similar at the Tampa and Spring Hill restaurants, with prices somewhat lower in Spring Hill, Samrala said.

Most popularly chosen: the house specialty, butter chicken, along with paneer makhani (sauced cheese balls, tomatoes and onion), malai kofta (sauced cheese balls and mixed vegetables) and chicken madras (a South India curried chicken with coconut milk). A favorite beverage is a chilled fresh mango yogurt drink, which Kumar describes as "like a milk shake."

Taj offers a $9.95 lunch buffet — dishes labeled — with three nonvegetables, four vegetables, two kinds of rice, two desserts and naan. Selections differ daily.

The evening a la carte menu features 10 chicken entrees, nine lamb, seven beef, five goat, 13 seafood, 24 vegetarian specialties and nine tandoori, or barbecue, specialties, from $10.95 to $19.95, as well as pulao rice dishes, appetizers, soups, sides, homemade breads, desserts and distinctly Indian beverages.

Beth Gray can be reached at graybethn@earthlink.net.

.If you go

Taj Indian Cuisine

Where: Western Way Plaza, 13031 Cortez Blvd., Spring Hill

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, lunch buffet; 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, lunch and brunch buffets; 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, a la carte dining

Special features: Catering for 25 to 500; takeout service

Phone: (352) 610-9975

Website: tajtampaindiancuisine.com

Popular Tampa restaurant brings Indian dishes to Spring Hill 08/02/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 2, 2013 6:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  2. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  3. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday

    Business

    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  4. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community for the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
  5. Claim: State pressured CFO, used secret recordings to shut down Universal Health Care

    Banking

    ST. PETERSBURG — The founder of St. Petersburg's Universal Health Care alleges that Florida regulators conspired with the company's chief financial officer to drive the once high-flying Medicare insurer out of business.

    Federal agents raided the headquarters of Universal Health Care in 2013, ordering employees to leave the building. The insolvent St. Petersburg Medicare insurer was then in the process of being liquidated by state regulators.
[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file photo]