Dinner with Dan: Khajuraho

Daniel Davis


12 Greenfield Ave

Ardmore, PA 19003

610 – 896 – 7200

Mmm, an aroma only an Indian cuisine could create. Such diversity and culture can be found in the restaurant named Khajuraho, located in Ardmore.

As if the 10 by 10 waiting room isn’t a good enough indicator of what kind of restaurant it is, the Chinese-buffet type interior suggested a frugal Indian eatery. Khajuraho represents one of the few Indian restaurants in the area, and its initial presentation did not intrigue this customer.

When first viewing the menu, I had difficulty deciding whether I was admiring a child’s pop-up book or an actual menu. After purusing this first-grade-entertainment menu, I discovered some interesting facts about India, none of which helped me in deciphering the menu. So many dishes, so many mysteries and many more words I couldn’t pronounce.

I was in a state of mental disarray, debating on whether I wanted to learn more about Indian culture (especially the arts) or actually place an order.

First, let me warn you about Indian food if you have never eaten it: it has a very unique flavor and taste, and the approach to the food-creation process is different from that of many other cultures.

The prices aren’t anything to die for; they’re higher rather than lower, and the entrees don’t offer a great deal of food for the cost. Their menu entails three soups, all unique and approximately $4. The naan assortment is a bread-like appetizer served with the meal to provide a dipping “utensil” for most entrees.

Also, most entrees are accompanied by white Indian rice to be blanketed by the main course. Entrees range from chicken to lamb to fish and average around $14, but can go anywhere from $10 – $25.

There are few other miscellaneous dishes offered by Khajuraho, all of which are no greater than $10. I would recommend trying them if you are into experimenting.

As I surveyed my environment, I could not help but notice golden vases lined up across a white-clothed table. My mind raced wondering what the containers could hold. Ashes? Drinks? Sauces? I inquired about it, shortly discovering it was “ice cold water.” Excellent.

The lighting is moderate and the ambience is loud and poorly aired. So while the inexpensive carpeting, hokey interior and poor decorations didn’t do it for me, maybe they will for you. If there is one huge plus, it may be the location of the smoking section in a faraway land I could not even see from my table.

I was seated immediately, but I would wait for the next ten minutes without service. What a treat! Luckily I needed all 10 minutes to read my menu, reread my menu, enjoy the beautiful pictures and comprehend the extensive cultural knowledge offered.

I asked for the “ice cold water,” and the naan (a necessity to taste at an Indian restaurant), mulligatawny soup (a somewhat creamy, herbal and spiced soup), batada vada (spiced mashed potatoes deep fried into 2 balls), chicken saagwalla (a spinach, spices, and chicken dish) and chicken tikka masala (a spaghetti-like sauce with chicken). After placing my order, I would soon discover the best feature of Khajuraho.

I never saw the bottom of my water glass. It was impossible to race the golden-vase-accompanied water-filler. While I entertained myself playing with the water-filler (taking a single sip, or gulping to test his awareness), I found myself intrigued by the hors d’oeuvres.

There was a taco-like shell with three sauces: a green, watered-down peppermint type, a barbeque type, and finally, a container possibly filled with minced portions of a tomato.

I later discovered my three mystery hors d’oeuvres to be a grassy or earthy tasting sauce (peppermint), a sweet, meat-filled brown sauce (barbeque), and sliced red peppers (tomato).

After breaking up the crusts (or taco-like shells), I sampled everything, trying to be open to any new and stimulating tastes. Let me recommend trying everything once, just to get the experience. Otherwise, the hors d’oeuvres weren’t that satisfying.

Somewhere in between, the mulligatawny soup (comparable to split pea soup) arrived with the batada vada, which were spicy mashed potatoes. Which to dive into first? At least the naan looks rather appetizing. Mmm, warm pita bread? The mulligatawny was very exotic, and delicious. I added a little pepper to give it more spice and to ensure several episodes throughout the meal. The mashed-potato “meatballs” were quite tasty, too. Something worth eating again? Not so much.

My water games ended and the dishes arrived (piping hot I might add). My green, natural looking metallic bowl occupied with spinach and spices and chicken looked tastier than that of the spaghetti-sauced chicken.

Both saucy dishes went splendidly with my white rice, and they complemented each other quite nicely. I enjoyed the unique tastes of the dish and the chicken was presented in nice portions (good-sized chunks).

The service throughout the meal was not attentive. My good friend with the ice-cold water was relentless (almost a pestering individual). Otherwise, the employees seemed more concerned with their golden vases then their guests. I survived.

This restaurant is not an outstanding purveyor of Indian food, but if you’re simply looking for a change of pace, it might do.