Wes Hennings never met a meal he walked away from and is an opinionated eater! Each Thursday he shares the results of a business lunch he’s had with a colleague as a way to advise our business community on the good, bad, and tasty across the CSRA. He doesn’t let ABD or the restaurant know where he is going and his opinions are his own. He grades the restaurants he visits on a 1-5 scale with “5” being outstanding. We call this our “Real Business Lunch Review”.
Food Quality: 5
Business Meeting: 4
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
One of the first things you notice when you sit down at the Taj of India is a wall full of awards. They have been awarded the city’s Best Indian Food for several years by many publications. While I am not an Indian food expert, this sight led me to expect a good lunch, and that’s exactly what I received.
Before coronavirus was an everyday word, the Taj of India served a lunch buffet. It wasn’t large, but it was a good chance to try a variety of dishes. That’s gone, but they’ve come up with a great replacement, which is the daily special. It includes four small servings of different dishes along with a larger portion of Tandoori chicken. As I had been stood up by my lunch companion for the day, I figured this was the best way to get an overall flavor of the spot. It’s also what basically everyone else was eating for lunch that day.
The plate on this day also came with curry potatoes, cabbage, chicken tikka masala, and some green beans that I didn’t quite understand the name of. Each dish was well done with a nice but not overwhelming amount of spice and served over a plate of rice alongside a wonderful basket of naan. I received enough bread for at least two people but had no problem almost finishing it off alone.
The entire plate was garnished on top with cilantro. While I’m a fan of the herb, it was a bit much for me. There’s a rumor, however, that to some people cilantro tastes like dish soap. I can’t imagine, but if that’s you, you may want to avoid it or at least ask for it not to be added.
I honestly also prefer meat that has already been taken off the bone for me and light meat as opposed to dark meat chicken. So while the Tandoori was tasty and well cooked, the masala was definitely my preference. The sauces and curries that came along with the dishes were excellent with the rice and naan, though.
A section of the restaurant was closed, meaning the lunch space is rather small. With only open seating tables, it felt a little cramped, and conversations were easily overheard, which is why Taj gets a slight ding as a business gathering space.
One capable server handled the entire restaurant, and while he had several tables, drinks remained filled and food arrived quickly, as did the check. I was back at my office in another part of town within an hour of leaving for lunch.
Top value marks for me, generally mean a delicious lunch for under $15. It’s a goal that’s harder to achieve as prices on everything soar, but with a $12 special, a drink, and a tip, this lunch was a bit closer to costing a 20 spot than I’d prefer.
My basic research found that Taj means a crown, and while I have very little experience with Indian culture and flavors, I would say this seems to be the crown jewel of Augusta’s Indian food scene. I’d love to hear if you disagree. It’s a great lunch that’s a little outside the regular flavor trail, so I definitely suggest you give it a go.
Taj of India
502-7 Fury’s Ferry Road