We got Indian takeout again at the end of last week but not from the place I’d been hoping to finally get to. The plan earlier in the week had been to do our usual weekend family walk in Maplewood and pick up some food from Indian Masala. But as Saturday approached, the forecast sapped our will and we decided we’d spend the day huddled at home. It’s not that we don’t plan to go out at all in the winter but that it’s too soon for temperatures so low. It may be Minnesota but it’s only fucking October, dammit. However, the story ends well. I ended up going to Costco on Friday morning and picked up a large order from Kabob’s Indian Grill in Bloomington. I’m happy to report that they continue to survive the pandemic, that they are now offering their lunch thali to go on weekends and that their food is still very good. Herewith, the details.
When we last got takeout from them—15 weeks ago—they were not open for dining in. You couldn’t even enter the restaurant to pick up your takeout order. Things have now changed: they are open for dining in and insofar as it’s possible for there to be social distancing in so small a place I suppose they’ve managed it. Frankly, the distance between tables and the generally cramped space would not fill me with confidence—then again, I’m not ready to dine in anywhere and those of you more comfortable with that choice may not be as dubious about the prospect of dining in at Kabob’s. But you really don’t need to. They continue to do takeout and their lunch thali is now available for takeout (and may have been for some weeks now).
I got one order of that lunch thali to go for my lunch when I got home and picked up a few more a la carte dishes that made for an excellent family dinner that evening and a few more meals over the next two days. They are, by the way, also offering on the weekends an unlimited thali served on banana leaves. If you are less apprehensive about dining in than we are, maybe give that a go. I assume this banana leaf thali development is a response to the arrival of Kumar’s in Apple Valley last year and Godavari in Eden Prairie this year. The South Indian competition in the southern suburbs is really heating up and it’s probably hard being a small, no-frills place like Kabob’s, even during the pandemic when takeout is probably/hopefully the heart of the business at all these places.
Though as I say, the food is still very good. I say this even though this particular thali was probably the least of the many thalis I’ve had there over the last year. But that’s the luck of the draw with the thali genre—you don’t know what you’re going to get. But that’s not to say it was anywhere close to a bad meal. I paid $10 for a fish thali—a bunch of veg dishes, a roasted chicken drumstick, fish curry and dessert—and it was excellent value. The other dishes I can praise without qualification: the Ambur spicy mutton biryani was excellent (even though I don’t think it was made with the regulation short-grained rice), as was the naatu kodi (a spicy chicken curry) and the fried eggplant curry. The boys likewise loved their predictable order of tandoori chicken and naan. The quantities, as I said, were enough to keep us going for a few more meals.
Launch the slideshow for a look at their menu and food. Scroll down to see what’s (maybe) coming next.
With a big tip, I paid $78 for all of this. This was enough food for at least 6 hungry adults and so $13/head. Excellent value, as I said. Even if—like us—you’re not big on the idea of dining in anywhere right now, I’d suggest giving them a call for takeout sometime soon. Get a biryani, one of their South Indian chicken or fish curries, the eggplant curry or garlic kulambu and be happy. Or if you can get there during lunch hours on a weekday, get a thali—especially if you live within close range.
Okay, what’s next? The forecast crawls into the low-mid 50s this Saturday. If that holds I think we will do another long family walk. If in Maplewood then we’ll finally hit up Indian Masala. If somewhere else, then somewhere else. Let’s see how it goes.