Like a lot of people in Fayetteville, I was really excited to learn about Khana Indian Grill when it was just a coming soon.
Now it’s been open at 2101 N. College for about a month, and by all accounts it’s great.
As writing about food is part of my job, I need to tell you this, but I also need you to know that I have no real knowledge of Indian food and therefore can’t speak with authority or even intelligence on the quality of the spices, the intensity of flavors and the downright deliciousness of everything my husband and I sampled on a recent visit.
The menu is still pretty small as they adjust to the opening crowds. The first week they were open they actually ran out of food and had to close for a couple of days to resupply, a testament both to the food’s tastiness and to the area’s hunger for authentic Indian.
We tried the paneer tikka masala and the chickpea chloe, and found both to be very flavorful and delicious, full of spice without being hot. They’re served with ridiculously long-grain basmati rice and tasty, warm naan cooked in the wood-burning oven. The cucumber garnish was actually quite refreshing after the spice of the meal.
Other options currently available are chicken tikka masala — which my fellow correspondent Peter reports has “very good spice” — and a combo that includes chickpea chole, aloo potato, yogurt raita, pappadum and a choice of tikka masala. Peter reports the aloo was also wonderful, “nicely spiced” with turmeric and black mustard seeds.
The restaurant also serves khati rolls, flatbread wrapped around fillings — tandoori chicken, chickpeas, paneer or aloo — served with cilantro, onion, green chilies, and mint yogurt chutney.
A fun variety of drinks is available, from mixed drinks like the Bollywood Bride (vodka, orange juice and passion fruit) to local beers, Indian sodas, hot chai, a classic mango lassi that another friend (who judges Indian places by their lassi) enjoyed, and unsweetened masala iced tea that Peter called “a revelation.”
Sounds pretty good right?
The atmosphere is great, too, for a place that most recently housed a moving company. I am a little obsessed with the lantern-like lights that glow different colors. The walls are white and sparsely decorated, while the tables are simple wooden blocks with black chairs. Lots of windows let in plenty of natural light, and the gray concrete floor is a little shiny.
Even the plates are cute. Owner Lisa Purkayastha told me before the restaurant opened that the plates are made from palm leaves and are compostable. Just another reason to love this spot!
If you’ve tried Khana, we’d love to know what you thought.