1100 Harmon Place
Entering Dancing Ganesha is like stepping into a whole new world. Dark and dramatic with vibrant colors on every surface, smells of curry and cardamom encircled us while sounds of Bollywood soundtracks and endless chatter from the large groups at the bar drew us farther inside. We walked past couches and plants among white string lights and blue lamps to a table at the far end of the restaurant. Centered on a shrine to the dancing Ganesha — defined as a Hindu god that removes life obstacles, but appearing more like an elephant with feet — we absorbed the glow and heat from the nearby fireplace (which, though cozy, failed miserably to look real and was instead unarguably tacky).
Service was attentive, friendly and unobtrusive. Our waiter fielded questions ranging from explanation of the beer selection to the ingredients in the obsessively delicious mint chutney. As we perused the menu, noting the many vegetarian options alongside the shrimp, chicken and lamb specialties, our waiter brought a complementary basket of papad for us to enjoy — Indian potato chips dipped in the mint chutney sauce or a sweet, barbeque-like concoction.
Dancing Ganesha is a perfect place to share. The menu items are all so interesting that we found it most fun to try several of them. Between the three of us (my mom being the third, in town for a visit and willing to participate in our restaurant critiques), we decided to each order an appetizer and then split the main dish. DG’s portion sizes made this the right decision, as we all left with the perfect amount of food in our stomachs and spice on our tongues.
The three appetizers came quickly, and we passed the plates to dig into each. The Chicken Mulligatawny Soup was my favorite — a bowl featuring chicken pieces mixed into a creamy lentil base with a spicy flavor and a familiar chicken taste. Bombay Chat was served as a chilled salad that combined pastry chips, diced potato, chickpeas, sliced onion and tomato, cilantro and additional herbs. It was filling, but the fresh taste and pleasant seasoning made it hard to slide away. We soon affectionately referred to Vegetable Pakoras as waffle fries, though the seasoned and breaded vegetables were much more than that. Paired with the same dipping sauces as the Indian papad, it was a tasty starter that seemed more like a bar food option on a happy hour menu.
After a delicious first round, the entrée met its high expectations. The Chicken Neelgiri Korma brought chicken pieces, chilies and cilantro together in a coconut curry sauce, served hot in a metal pot next to a dish of white rice. It would certainly be both lunch and dinner for one, but the three of us polished it off with a side of regular naan (the garlic version was too heavy on the garlic — even for avid garlic eaters like ourselves — and took away from the other Indian flavors).
The two lighter Indian beers on the menu tasted nearly identical to a regular domestic, so next time we’ll opt for the cheaper pick over the authenticity. Overall, prices are extremely reasonable and become even more of a value if a table shares an item.
The establishment’s Indian cuisine is artfully crafted so that the spices and flavor are sensed before the food touches the tongue, and then explodes inside the mouth in a way that was delightful and not overdone. Dancing Ganesha, it won’t be long before my taste buds call out for your dynamic flavors. We will meet again.
RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠ 1/2
Service: ♠♠♠ 1/2
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠ 1/2
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠♠
Total bill, including tip (for 3 people): $69