(This review is for Thali’s new location at 376 Post Road East, Westport, CT. The above Urbanspoon badge is temporary until the Westport location is added to the Urbanspoon site)
Since coming to America in 1985 an introducing both traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine to Fairfield County, Indian Chef Prasad Chirnomula has distinguished himself as one of the area’s most creative and enthusiastic restaurateurs. His passion for his native cuisine has had the unique effect of educating American palates to the bold, aromatic, and flavorful cuisine of India.
In March of 2010 the fifth installment of the Thali restaurant brand opened in Westport, CT. Joining New Canaan, Ridgefield, and New Haven, which has two locations, one of which is Thali Too, a vegetarian version on the campus of Yale, Prasad’s inspiration for the Westport spot is that of a “tapas” style menu. This fun and innovative approach to Thali’s diverse menu took Chef Chirnomula “On one of my most enjoyable journeys,” he beams, “I explored various cuisines and infused the many ingredients found in traditional Indian dishes, such as hand ground spices, and felt no boundaries as far where the food could take me.” The result is a genuine dining experience that transports one into culinary nirvana.
The menu is presented in a check-off list format, offering two portion sizes / price points. Specialties include: Tibetan style steamed chicken dumplings, sesame crusted chicken skewers, multi pepper-crusted breast of duck, jumbo lump crab samosa, Indian style shrimp tempura with soy chili sauce, spiced pan-seared scallops with fennel and fenugreek crust and chili cilantro oil, pepper and ginger skirt steak with mint raita, and little buttons of steamed lentil and rice cakes. Entrée size portions of traditional Masala, Korma, Vindaloo, Saag, and Gassi preparations with shrimp, chicken, and lamb, as well as nan breads and chef specials are also available. Unique to Thali of Westport is their very own pastry chef, creating sweet treats not typically found in Indian restaurants, such as: cardamom creme brulee, lemon grass key lime pie, caramel mango cheese cake, star anise and fennel scented babinka, shahi tukra (bread pudding), and fragrant cardamom ice cream.
The space, formerly Taipan (Thai), has been transformed into a sensuous bar and dining room. Private circular booth seating is enveloped with light speckled borders. An intimate bar displays top shelf spirits against the antique brushed mirror, with dangling crystals that sparkle overhead. A partial display kitchen fills the room with energy; while a wall of floor to ceiling white threads separate the service area from the dining room, which boasts dark wood furnishings, against a backdrop of colorful Indian prints and backdrop light fixtures. Good fortune is bestowed upon guests by India’s symbolic white Ganesha elephant, a focal point of the restaurant.
The above article is a release from Linda Kavanagh of Maxexposure. La Buena Vida has teamed up with Maxexposure to bring the latest in Fairfield County dining.
I will be visiting Thali in the future to give my personal take on some of the dishes. In the meantime if you have been to any of the Thali’s locations please comment on your experience and let me know what I should try.