Gopuram Taste of India: thoughts from an Indian food novice
So, just because I run a website about Oklahoma City restaurants, it doesn’t mean I’m thoroughly versed in every type of cuisine. In my short 33 year life, I’ve tried a lot of restaurants and a lot of different types of food, but there’s still much to be tasted. Indian food is one such frontier for me. Sure, I’ve had some Indian food in my life, but not enough to really explore it as it deserves to be explored. So, I recently began my journey in earnest into Oklahoma City’s Indian food landscape and I started at Gopuram Taste of India.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me that Gopuram is at the top of Oklahoma City’s Indian restaurant choices. Some of you even commented such on Andrew’s review of Kha-Zhana. Others of you emailed in directly to recommend it. Plus, I work with quite a few Indian food lovers at my office, and they indicated that Gopuram was a great place to begin. After visiting, I have to agree. Granted, I haven’t tried the other places in the city, but I thoroughly enjoyed Gopuram and I would highly recommend it, especially for the lunch buffet.
Indian cuisine is quickly climbing up toward the top of my favorites. The richness, complexity and spiciness is all so very appealing to me. Also, while I typically don’t enjoy all-you-can-eat buffet’s (since they usually lead to over-eating), I do feel that experiencing Indian food through a buffet is a great option for the variety of things you get to try. This is particularly true when you are new to the experience.
Gopuram offers an excellent buffet. I went at lunch and the cost was $7.95 (it’s $10.95 on Saturday / Sunday and at dinner, and children 3-9 are half price). They offered soups, fruit, and a wide array of appetizers and main dishes, plus some desserts. I appreciated that all of the offerings were always kept well-stocked. They never seemed to run out of anything on the line.
As appetizers, I had a very rich and creamy tomato soup that was very, very good. The naan bread was also plentiful and very nice, plus I tried the vegetarian samosas which I really loved. I appreciated the fact that these samosas had a fairly natural and earthy flavor, not overly seasoned, though definitely savory enough for me.
From the main dishes, I tried just about everything I could. One of the highlights was the Chicken Tikka Masala. This is boneless chicken cooked in amazing creamy tomato-based sauce. I thought the chicken was perfectly tender and the sauce was incredibly smooth and flavorful. Another chicken option is the Tandoori chicken which consists of stand alone pieces of chicken that have been marinated well and baked in a Tandoor oven.
There were a lot of other dishes on the line as well, and they were all quite good. One great thing about Indian cuisine is that there are lots of vegetarian options. I sampled several vegetable dishes on the buffet and Gopuram’s menu also features many vegetarian features.
One thing that I always heard about Gopuram is that the atmosphere is really well done. I was very anxious to see what everyone was talking about. I agree that it is nicely appointed, though the style wasn’t exactly my taste. I’ve not been to India, so I don’t know how authentic it is, but it seemed a little over-the-top to me.
However, you can tell that they have put a lot of effort into the atmosphere in their restaurant and I can appreciate that, no matter what the style. There is a large open seating area with a circular fireplace in the middle (it wasn’t burning when we went in the 90 degree weather, but I assume it would be great for the winter). Plus, they have built in some more private dining areas — a selection of individual rooms where you can get a more isolated environment. These could be very nice for a quiet dinner. You can see pictures and descriptions of these rooms as well as the main dining room and their banquet room on their website gallery.
The whole environment just feels really solid. It’s not temporary or cheap. It seems like it has been there a long time and that they are planning to stay. They also use nice, heavy dinnerware and large, solid silverware pieces. This, in combination with the extremely polite and well-dressed wait staff creates a higher-end dining experience, even when you’re there for the lunch buffet. It’s nice to be able to get such an experience for under $8.
It seems that on Friday and Saturday nights, they even offer dinner shows that they call “Arabian Nights” at 7:30pm and 8:30pm with music and dancing.
Gopuram Taste of India was an excellent starting place on my journey of Oklahoma City’s Indian cuisine. If you’re an Indian food novice like me, I highly recommend it as a place to begin. Not that it’s just for novices because obviously there a lot of Indian food experts out there who recommend it as well. I will say that those in the know have told me that Gopuram represents North Indian cuisine which tends to be a little less spicy and more palatable for the American taste. Taj apparently represents South Indian cuisine which can be more bold. I look forward to trying Taj soon to taste the difference for myself.
Please leave your comments on Gopuram and Indian food in general. I look forward to learning more from you guys as I continue on my journey.