Khazana changed my mind about Indian food

by | January 23, 2008 | 26 Comments

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Khazana is located at 4900 North May Ave in Oklahoma City (map). Give them a call at 405-948-6606.

Growing up, I remember my grandfather going to India and always taking lots of peanut butter and crackers so he wouldn’t have to eat the food. I remember disregarding his advice and trying a few Indian places long my life’s journey, including places here in town, and having a similar sentiment. I never hated it, it just seemed the flavors and spices were a bit strong for my taste and they seemed to linger on the palate and skin for hours, and even days, to come. I was invited several months back to an Oklahoma Indian food place that changed my perception, opened my taste buds to dynamic flavors, and gave me the opportunity to eat one of my favorite occasional meats … goat!

The owners of Khazana position themselves as a trendy Indian buffet experience. They have the curries and masalas that you expect to see on any Indian buffet, but they somehow bring a level of flavor that puts the other Indian buffet’s in town to shame. My favorite is the goat masala, but it is not offered every day. It seems to be there a few times a month. The fine Indian chef geniuses at Khazana know we need to be healthy and strong and eat our spinach, so they serve it a few different ways. They have Palak Paneer, which is a spinach curry. It doesn’t look that great in my opinion (sort of like a vegetable puree), but it tastes fantastic. According to my local Indian expert, Palak means spinach, and Paneer means cheese. I sure didn’t see cheese in it, but it tasted good. They also kick spinach up another notch by deep frying it. Brilliant!

You know, I think our Indian friends could learn a little from our French friends when it comes to presentation. I mean, curries, masalas, and other Indian favorites don’t look all that great to me on the plate. Maybe that is why some people are hesitant to try Indian food since the saying “you eat it first with your eyes” is a very accurate reality. These dishes, however, have to be tasted before you write them off by their looks. The chicken and lamb curries are good. They are spicy but not so hot you can’t enjoy them. I think I’m a bigger fan of the masalas. Masala is a blend of spices that ranges from spicy to sweet, including cinnamon and cumin, and really has a flavor that is unique and rich. I particularly like it poured over bits of stewed goat. Yum.

Perhaps the star of the show at Khazana, though, is the tandoori chicken. Tandoori chicken is chicken marinated in yogurt, then seasoned with a special tandoori masala and cooked in a tandoor (oven). It’s spicy, but not overly hot. It’s bright red and brown and leaves a nice red slick on your hands that doesn’t wipe off real easy. That’s why I use a fork. It’s very flavorful chicken, though. It pairs well with a couple slices of Indian bread, or Nan (a crispy flat bread also cooked in the tandoor). Other things to enjoy here are various rice and vegetable dishes. Lots of words that I can’t decipher or remember. All I know is that the food at Khazana is a real step above any other Indian place I have ever tried. It is a buffet, and that is the extent of my Indian food adventures. You can order off the menu here, but I have never done that. I’m sure if you knew what you were doing that would be a good thing. I bet I could get goat right off the menu. Hmmm.

There isn’t a lot of bad about Khazana. It’s a buffet, which I would normally say is bad, but in this case, it’s all I know, and it’s pretty good. The worst part, as I mentioned before, is that these aromas and flavors really stick to you and linger for some time. Do your coworkers and families a favor and have a breath mint, or a handful of fennel seed,which you can grab on the way out, to help soften the blow.

So, if you have never had Indian food before, or even if you have and haven’t liked it in the past, try Khazana. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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This article was posted by Andrew Littleton on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • kurt says:
    January 29th, 2008 at 12:42 am   

    Here in OKC I’ve tried Gopuram and Khazana. Khazana wins hands down.

  • Andrew says:
    January 29th, 2008 at 7:41 pm   

    I agree, I’ve had both and its no comparison

  • Sherie says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 10:50 am   

    I too have had both, plus Misal, Taj and Namaste in Edmond. The only place I have NOT enjoyed was Kha Zana. For a buffet, I prefer Taj, but ordering off the menu at Namaste is incredible. Their buffet is sub-par, kind of “Americanized” (read as NO spice), but if you order off the menu, you can specify spice and everything is very fresh…the best I’ve had in OKC.

  • Andrew says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 11:58 am   

    I’ll be the first to admit I’m an Indian food novice. I’ll have to try Namaste though.

  • Redbee says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:13 pm   

    I agree. Namaste buffet is lacking, but the menu is so good. Everything is very fresh and very tasty.

  • Sarah says:
    February 12th, 2008 at 1:36 am   

    Being an expat Brit’, where Indian is the #1 restaurant or take out food, plus I also cook my own….I have to say I prefer Gopuram to Khazana.

  • Sheri says:
    February 23rd, 2008 at 1:02 pm   

    I’ve been to Khazana 3 or 4 times and Misal once…. my favorite continues to be Gopuram. (Misal doesn’t even OFFER gulab jamun!)

    Give Gopuram a try or two and then share your experience. :-)

  • Ish says:
    March 9th, 2008 at 1:07 am   

    Sheri,
    You are absolutley right about “Gopuram”. Best place for Indian cuisine, not in only in OKC but I would say gopuram able to compete well to any of the ethnic cuisine in united states or canada. Just compare this way best decor, ambience and environment. Service and staff just excellent and about food, critics needs to be honest as its just wonderrful, great and two thumbs up. Also prices far better then other indian restaurants.I would say best restaurant in town “Gopuram”

  • Andy Mahbubani says:
    April 30th, 2008 at 10:44 pm   

    As an Indian, I will tell you that there are three restaurants worth your time. Gopuram is the king of the North Indian Restaurants and the atmosphere is the best of any Indian Restaurants in Oklahoma City. They were one of the first, and still one of the best. If you’re looking for South Indian Food, Taj tends to have some wonderful food. I recommend them as well. And Namaste in Edmond is kinda convenient for Edmondites, and I use it as a quick Indian Lunch if one of my friends decides they want Indian food. With any others, you are wasting your time and money. I’ve tried them all, and in my humble opinion, these three do the best justice to the delicate, wonderful, tasty, and sometimes spicy cuisine of India.

  • Chad Jaggers says:
    August 8th, 2008 at 10:34 am   

    I am a big fan of Kha Zana. The atmosphere is simple and not as decorated as Gopuram, but I actually like the food a tad bit better at Kha Zana. I’m not a fan of Taj because it feels dirty and stuffy whenever I go there. Kha Zana is getting 4 from me.

  • Tim says:
    August 8th, 2008 at 12:09 pm   

    Tried out KhaZana today. It is closer to my office than the others and I do like the simple, clean atmosphere which is more understated than that of Gopuram.

    However, in my opinion, the flavors were a little less impressive than what I experienced at Gopuram. It’s not a huge difference, but I thought it was noticeable. The naan was also very thick and heavy, which I didn’t like as much.

    I agree with Andrew that the stand-out dish at KhaZana is the Tandoori Chicken. Great flavor and very tender.

    This is definitely a fine place to eat but I must agree with the others who have ranked Gopuram a little higher. I hope to try some other Indian places soon.

  • Erin says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 10:37 am   

    Indian Food probably isn’t at it’s best presented in buffet vats – It’s meant to be served up family style and eaten with your hands.

    http://india-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/eating_in_indian_style

    Give it a try!

  • Rena says:
    September 7th, 2008 at 1:32 pm   

    I have been to several of the Indian restaurants in OKC. I prefer Kha Zana for several reasons. The “vat” foods are replenished frequently and it always tastes and looks fresh. The flavors work for this Okie. My daughter has eaten Indian all over in Ok and Europe and she says that for Oklahoma, Kha Zana works for her. I like the owners and the atmosphere.

  • M&M says:
    October 7th, 2008 at 8:52 am   

    For the best Indian food in all of Oklahoma City, you have to try Ajanta at 122nd and Penn in NW OKC. If you do a search on google maps for Indian food in OKC, it comes up as Cabab N’ Curry‎. I have been to Gopuram, Namaste (closed down now), Ajanta, and Tandoor. Ajanta is, hands down, the best Indian buffet in Oklahoma City. You must try it.

  • Chris J. says:
    November 12th, 2008 at 12:09 pm   

    My wife and I ventured here not too long ago, and we thought that it was kind of a hit-and-miss type place. We really liked the Tandori Chicken, and I loved the cream-of-wheat dessert, but other than that, nothing is really sticking out in my memory.

  • Katie says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 12:13 pm   

    Andrew – the fried spinach is my fav! I love that stuff! I also love at all Indian places the mango pudding…it’s nice and light and cools your mouth off from the heat of the spices. I still need to try Gopuram & Ajanta. Thanks for the lead on those!

  • The Motley Oklahoman » 10 Local Restaurant Recommendations says:
    January 29th, 2009 at 10:57 pm   

    [...] and chocolate-coated cheesecake on a stick! I run into local celebs in this place all the time. 3. KhaZana. We used to go to Gopuram all the time, until this place opened. More selection, more vegetarian [...]

  • Kacy says:
    November 13th, 2009 at 3:41 pm   

    This was the first place I ever had Indian and it definitely blew me away. It’s definitely a great buffet. Everything has a distinct and authentic flavor, unlike some places where all the dishes end up tasting eerily similar.

  • Desiree says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 4:52 am   

    I agree with “M&M”…Ajanta on 122nd and Penn is the best Indian that I have found. As another reader said, the food is a little different here because it is south Indian. As far as buffet is concerned, I find it superior to others in OKC. Ordering off the menu is great too but a little pricey (about $11 per dish)

  • Desiree says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 4:53 am   

    Correction, Ajanta is north indian.

  • Christi says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 12:26 pm   

    I’ve had Misal, Gopuram, Taj, Adjunta, and KhaZana. As far as buffet goes, KhaZana beats em all. Hands down. Indian food is my favorite type of food as well as my husbands and we both LOVE KhaZana. We make jokes about being addicted to it. Whatever they are doing they are doing it very well and I hope they keep it up! Delicious!

  • John says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 3:15 pm   

    Khazana is good for food but the people who runs it are monsters. They keep the tips and warn the waitstaf not to tell any customer otherwise they will fire them without paying staf’s salary

  • mark e says:
    June 24th, 2011 at 9:04 pm   

    I’ve been many times to Khazana, Gopuram, Taj, and Adjanta. Khazana has always been my favorite! I agree with a previous commenter that Taj always seemed kind of dirty, dingy, and gross (though the food tasted good). But no matter, its doors have closed. I’ve never been impressed with Adjanta. Perhaps it’s because their buffet is smaller. Gopuram is great for atmosphere and style points. But Khazana is the one I always go back to. As for John’s comment about the owners, I have always found them wonderfully amiable. If there is something underhanded going on behind the scenes between them and the waitstaff, I wouldn’t have guessed it…

  • SG says:
    August 8th, 2011 at 6:46 pm   

    I have tried most of these and think Ajanta is hands down the best as well as one of the best kept secrets in OKC. The lamb vindaloo is spot on, very hot, but not so hot that is over powers the dish.

    For novices, the chicken korma is mild, but very flavorful.

    I have tried just about everything on the menu and it’s all freshly made and they have a great assortment of nan/bread that is out of this world.

    A couple British buddies come to town every so often and they agree that it’s every bit as good as any they’ve had in Britain. I’ve been to the UK six ot seven times and I have to agree. However, I have yet to go to India.

    Some Indian places, however, are not very good. That goes with any cuisine, for every great restaurant, there are 10 that are not up to par.

    Namaste off the menu was really good, but they’re closed now, unfortunately.

  • SG says:
    August 8th, 2011 at 7:05 pm   

    Lastly, this goes for off the menu. I don’t care for buffets and would rather have something made to order.

  • Fxs says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 12:52 am   

    Being Indian and a foodie, I have just this to say about the Indian buffets in town:

    Neither of them are good, holistically speaking. There are things about each that are more authentic, tastier and more desirable than the other…

    Misal buffet….beef/potato hash, jalapeño chutney, chicken curry, onion rings
    Tandoor buffet….naan, Paneer/peas masala, aloo/Baingan (aloo=potato, Baingan=eggplant), beef meatballs in curry sauce
    Khazana buffet….chicken spring rolls w/ tamarind chutney & mint chutney, tandoori chicken
    Ajanta buffet….chicken tikka masala, naan
    Gopuram buffet….gulab jamun (dessert)
    Himalayas…biryani made to order, and sambhar & bhel from the buffet
    Taste of India buffet….yet to find something real and good
    Taj buffet…pongal

    Enjoy!

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