Butter Chicken (chunks of chicken breast slow cooked in a tomato and butter curry sauce served with a long grain white rice)

When craving authentic Indian cuisine, my family heads for Southcenter Parkway in Tukwila, Washington where the Indian Curry Palace is nicely situated in a recently updated strip mall. Access in and out is easy and parking is free. Once you get past the front door you are gently transported into contemporary Indian culture. Light rock melodies sung in Hindi and rich earth tones are accented by bronze colored metal lamps and wall art. Staff are keenly alert to customer needs as they move fluidly throughout the restaurant assisting you with selecting menu items and bringing beverages and food items to and from the table. There is an unhurried, comfortable ambiance to the dining experience.

We start our meal with Papad (thin, crispy baked lentil wafers served with a trio of sauces) and one order each of Vegetable Samosa and Lamb Samosa. Each order includes two large fried dumplings. They are savory, densely filled and surrounded by a crunchy tasty crust. Sometimes we make a meal of Samosas alone because they are filling and substantial. The lamb is a medium grind and both the vegetable and lamb include peas and potatoes. The Lamb Samosa is accented well by the Tamarind sauce and the Vegetable pairs well with the Mixed Achar, a mixed vegetable pickled chutney, and mint sauces.

Next we share Butter Naan (8 to 10 inch in diameter and 1/3 inch thick pan fried bread cut into quarters); Butter Chicken (chunks of chicken breast slow cooked in a tomato and butter curry sauce served with a long grain white rice); Lamb Biriyani (cubes of lamb cooked in a green curry sauce with green peas, diced bell peppers, diced onions, and rice mixed in with a side of Raita, a yogurt sauce with shredded cucumber, carrots and mild spices; Tandoori Prawn (thin long slices of white onion and red and green mild peppers with bright red, tail shell-on prawns marinated in yogurt and spices served sizzling hot on a skillet, note the rising steam in the photo), and Cucumber Salad consisting of chopped cucumber, tomatoes and white onions drizzled with lemon juice and topped with cilantro. All main dishes can be ordered as mildly spiced, a 0, to hot, a 6. The yogurt sauce and Cucumber Salad add a cool refreshing texture and flavor to items that are more spicy. Note: Indian cuisine often entails long slow cooking in savory sauces. This works well for meats like chicken and lamb, but not so well for seafood.

Vegetable Samosa and Lamb Samosa served with a trio of sauces.

Lamb Biriyani with a side of Raita and a Cucumber Salad

Tandoori Prawn (Served sizzling hot on a skillet. Note: the rising steam in the photo)

Finally the meal is finished off with Shaahi Tukda (we order it because it is described as a bread pudding, a family favorite, and because who doesn’t like the opportunity to say “Sha-a-hee Too-k-duh”?) This dessert consists of a shallow bowl of sweet whole cream sauce in which are floating two thin slices of heart shaped toasted savory bread topped with chopped roasted pistachio and chopped maraschino cherries. While this dessert is not billed as a Valentine’s or romantic dessert, it certainly puts one in the Valentine’s mood.

Shaahi Tukda “Sha-a-hee Too-k-duh”

Prices are comparable to most family restaurants. If you stick with water and the Samosas you can be filled for under ten dollars a person including tip. If you go for at least three courses and fountain beverages and share the dishes family-style as we did you can expect $25 per person including tip.

The restaurant has a 4 star Yelp review with 265 reviews and provides pickup orders to go. To learn more or get the menu and order online go to http://www.indiancurrypalace.com.