7677 Mall Road, Florence, 859-594-4825, www.tajindiaflorence.com
Nestled in a strip mall and neighbor to bookstores and a movie theater, Taj India serves a lovely range of Northern Indian cuisine similar to other local Indian restaurants, along with a few unique dishes. Taj India's food is quite good; the insanely complex blends of spices that are the hallmark of Northern Indian food are accomplished with expertise. The food menu is expansive, and by the time you read this, the restaurant will have beer available as well.
The décor is simple, with the centerpieces being a gigantic illuminated landscape photograph on the wall and a large stuffed plush tiger (wearing sunglasses) on top of the sizable lunch buffet cart. While the restaurant is not a large setting, the tables are far enough apart that fellow diners won't accidentally intrude on your conversations.
The place settings on each table charmingly include both paper and cloth napkins; this is handy for those of us who sweat when we eat spicy food. When you order an entrée at Taj India, you specify the spice level of one through five. (If you're used to a spice level of one through six, be aware that a "two" at Taj India is a little hotter than a "two" elsewhere. It's not a bad thing at all, mind you, but it's something to keep track of if you're not into very spicy food.)
HOURS: Lunch - 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday; dinner - 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, and 5 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
BREAD: Chef naan - Indian bread with onion, garlic, potato, chicken ($3.49)
VEGETARIAN ENTREE: Aloo chooley - chickpeas and potatoes in a spiced Indian sauce ($7.95)
ENTREE: Lamb makhni - The most tender lamb I've ever sampled, with herb, tomato, and butter sauce ($11.95)
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