We had dinner at Sawan last Wednesday (9/7). Arriving at around 6:30 p.m., we found the very attractive dining room empty. Didn’t bother us in the least. The very amiable owner seated us in one of the booths along the right side (from which this shot was taken).
Not long after we arrived, a party of three came in and was seated at another booth followed shortly thereafter by a large group (8 people I think) who occupied the one large semi-circular booth (you can see it in the photo). All these other diners were Indian.
When Mr. RBI and I go to a “regular” Indian restaurant for the first time, that is, those that have large menus with all the usual suspects, we order dishes we are familiar with in order to judge the quality in comparison to other Indian restaurants of that type. (Upscale Indian restaurants with creative menus are a whole other matter.)
I prefer my Indian food spice level at mild while Mr. RBI prefers his quite spicy. So, when the owner took our order, we discussed this conundrum. He said they’d prepare the dishes mild and provide Mr. RBI with a spicy mixture on the side that he could add to his liking.
As is usual in these Indian restaurants, we were brought a basket of papadum along with three dipping sauces: tamarind, onion, and mint. I only tasted the tamarind which was fine. Mr. RBI said the other two sauces were quite spicy which, of course, he liked.
We started with vegetarian samosas stuffed with potato and peas. They were exemplary. The crispy crust was perfectly fried with not a hint of grease. The potato and peas stuffing was mildly spicy and very tasty.
We chose three main course dishes: Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Rogan Josh, and the vegetarian Alu Gohbi (cauliflower & potatoes). All were delicious with just the right level of spice for me. They came with a generous portion of Basmati rice. We also ordered onion kulcha. It was crisp more than puffy, and the onion flavor wasn’t particularly detectible.
We took home enough leftovers to make another dinner. When they wrapped the leftovers, they gave us a boatload of rice, way more than we’d left over. A nice gesture.
Service by the owner and one other man was friendly and attentive.
Comparing Sawan to Indian Grill, in Manalapan, Mr. RBI agreed that while the food a Indian Grill is good, Sawan’s is even better. Plus, the atmospherics at Sawan are far and away superior. And as close as Indian Grill is from our house, Sawan is even closer!
I think you can tell that we’ll definitely be back!
Sawan Photo Set