Rhonda On The Prowl: Spicing It Up At Sitar Indian Cuisine

Monday, February 8, 2016 - by Rhonda Tuggle

It was a night to spice things up. Because our neighbors, Frankie and Deb, previously professed to Flash and me their love of Indian food, we arranged a double date at Sitar Indian Cuisine. 

“Our other friends are afraid to try it with us,” Deb said as she, Frankie, Flash, and I entered the royal red dining room. 

Located at 200 Market Street, the restaurant inhabits the part of downtown where Tennessee Aquarium tourists, Market Street Bridge bicyclers, and Majestic 12 moviegoers rule the sidewalks.

The Indian waiter with a thick, quick accent sat us at a booth near the back. It was Wednesday night and not too many people occupied the other tables. But those who were dining-in were Indian. 

“A good sign the food is authentic,” Flash said after scanning the room.

The waiter brought out a plate of papadum – thin, disc-shaped lentil crackers served with two types of chutney, mint and onion. He then went behind the bar to prepare the bottle of white wine Deb requested for the table. In the meantime we snacked on the salty papadum topped with the salsa-like chutneys. 

A few minutes later the waiter returned with the wine cradled in a big ice bucket, a white washcloth tied around the neck of the bottle. 

“What nice wine service,” Deb said, playfully mocking the excessive presentation.

The waiter then brought out our appetizers of chicken pakora and tandoori. The pakora ($3.95) came with six pieces of grilled chicken fried in ground chickpea flour. The tandoori ($7.95) sizzled in an assortment of chicken, lamb, and shrimp mixed with onion and bell pepper.

Not until we finished the appetizers did the waiter take our order for the main meal. Deb – a superb cook who describes herself as a “foodie” and whose judgment I trust when it comes to good tasting grub – ordered for the table.

First she asked for the Special Combination for Two ($31.95), substituting the mulligatawny soup for keema naan (minced lamb stuffed bread). Then she ordered Chana Masala ($9.95): chickpeas cooked Punjabi style. Lastly, Deb said we had to try the Bhindi Masala ($10.95): stewed okra stuffed with exotic spices.  

When the waiter finished writing everything down he asked, “Spice level?” 

“Mild plus,” Frankie and Deb cried at the same time. When the waiter left they told us one time they ordered everything at a medium spiciness and could hardly swallow because the food was so hot.

I didn’t know where to start when the food came out. The combination platter included seekh kababs, chicken tikka, lamb rogan josh, basmati rice, and naan bread. I liked the lamb rogan josh most – how it came stewed in a traditional Indian sauce. The keema naan and stewed okra also dazzled my taste buds. The curry powder in some dishes complimented the sheer spice in others. The warm breads mixed wonderfully with the various sauces. 

The four of us passed around each dish, filled our plates full with the rich cuisine. When it was all said and done we split a bill of $96 before tip. “Not bad for a bottle of wine, two appetizers, and three entrees,” Flash said.

“I’m so glad we finally have friends who will eat Indian with us,” Deb said as we exited the royal red Sitar.       

Location: 200 Market St
Hours: M-Th  11 am – 2:30 pm; 5 – 10 pm
Fri       11 am – 2:30 pm; 5 – 10 pm
            Sat-Su 11:30 am – 3 pm; 5 – 10 pm

Dunkin' Donuts Removes Artificial Dyes From Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is kicking off 2018 with news declaring donuts now sold at restaurants nationwide are no longer being made using colors from artificial sources. As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to offer guests great-tasting, high-quality products and cleaner menu labels, Dunkin’ Brands Group, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, previously pledged ... (click for more)

Chick-fil-A To Officially Break Ground For East Ridge Restaurant

Chick-fil-A’s Tennessee expansion continues with a groundbreaking event soon at the site of its new East Ridge restaurant, the second of six locations the chain expects to open in Tennessee this year. It will be near the Bass Pro Shop. Chick-fil-A representatives will join community leaders at the site of the chain’s East Ridge location at  639 Camp Jordan Parkway at Jordan ... (click for more)

BlueCross Sells Huge Tract Along River For $8.1 Million

BlueCross BlueShield has sold a huge tract along the riverfront in Lupton City for $8.1 million. The purchaser is listed as Riverton LLC., 651 E. 4th St., Suite 403, Chattanooga. BlueCross had bought the 216-acre site in 2001 as a possible site for its corporate headquarters. However, it wound up building a $299 million campus on Cameron Hill instead. BlueCross started ... (click for more)

1 Person Injured In Duplex Fire In East Lake Wednesday Night

One person was injured when fire broke out in a duplex Wednesday night in East Lake. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at  11:53  p.m. on  Wednesday  and responded to the 4800 block of General Thomas Boulevard with several fire companies. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, Captain Chris Cordes with Engine 9 said a significant ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kids Are Still Funny

I have never seen nor heard of a child actually getting one’s “head pinched off” but by modern-day standards the threat just switched in overdrive. There are children in our communities who haven’t been to school for six long days and the brutal temperatures drove the little darlings to inside where they most predictably stirred up all manner of mayhem. Back when I was in Elementary ... (click for more)