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India Oven – Location, Location, Location

March 19, 2009 5 comments

India Oven Now on SE Belmont

I always had a love hate relationship with Kinta Restaurant.  I really valued having a vegetarian restaurant in my neighborhood with spicy ethnic food and an ever changing array of fresh vegetable choices.  Unfortunately the idea of Kinta always seemed better than the reality.  Frequently messed up orders and lack of a clear vision plagued Kinta, combined with the hefty competition with a flood of nearby Thai restaurants spelled the end for this local eatery.

Kinta’s loss has been India Oven‘s gain.  Previously located in the dungeon that is the Hawthorne Theater, India Oven moved from SE Hawthorne to SE Belmont into its ideal new location. Even though I am a fan of India food I hadn’t visited India Oven in its previous location. The Hawthorne Theater seems like a dump from the outside, so it was hard to imagine enjoying a meal inside.

Days after their move to SE Belmont, I made a point to give India Oven a try. Even though they had completely relocated their business, I found the service and food at India Oven to be right on the mark.  My meal consisted on Vegetable Pakoras, Papadams, Dahl, Vegetable Byrani and Aloo Gobi (which I think is one of the dishes that is a true barometer of a good Indian restaurant).  All the dishes were well spiced with medium portion sizes. Of the three I enjoyed the Dahl the most with perfectly cooked lentils with nice balanced flavor. The Aloo Gobi was solid, not the best I’ve ever had, but well balanced and tasty.  The Pakoras were a nice mix of vegetables deeply fried and absolutely delicious. I also quite enjoyed the Vegetable Byrani which was the largest portion of the dishes. The final bill was in line with many of the medium priced local businesses but notably higher than going out for local Thai.

The best thing going for India Oven is its new location. Perfectly placed in the heart of the Belmont Business District India Oven should find success where Kinta failed. Even though they had only been open a few days the restaurant was fuller than I had ever seen Kinta.

India Oven is located at 3450 SE Belmont St.

Categories: Food, Vegan Tags:

Nutshell Restaurant Has Closed

November 16, 2008 3 comments
Where Will Bigfoot Eat Now

Where Will Bigfoot Eat Now

It comes as little surprise the news that Nutshell Vegan Restaurant has closed. In September I wrote the piece In A Nutshell – They’re Screwed that took a look at how Nutshell had gone from Portland darling to a restaurant precariously on the edge of the “Portland Restaurant Dead Pool”.

That hypothesis became a reality this week when Nutshell threw in the towel and closed their doors.  Perhaps the final nail in Nutshell’s coffin came from Alison Hallett who wrote a sharp criticism of Nutshell in the Portland Mercury review: Cracked Up – Nutshell’s Unsuccessful Revisioning.

Nutshell’s closing is either vindication for chef Sean Coryell (who left the sinking ship) or a sharp condemnation of the owners of Tabla (who also run Ten01, a restaurant which had its own near death experience last year).

To be fair 2008 has proven to be one of the toughest years for Portland restaurants yet.  With a growing list of restaurants closing because of the brutal economy including: Rocket, Kalga Cafe, Banh Cuon Tan Dinh, Genoa, and Carboni’s, the BBQ/wood-fire pizza. We expect at least five more Portland restaurants to join this list befor the year’s end. So if there’s a local Portland restaurant you don’t want to see added to the list, I highly recommend you make sure you dine there a few times before the end of the year, it does really matter.

Categories: Food, Vegan Tags: , ,