Updated: 27th June 2012; This restaurant has closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
Suanne and I think we need to discover more about the restaurant scene at the Steveston area. Located at the south western end of Richmond, we don’t normally drive there. Wendy of Eat-n-About had done a number of good restaurant reviews in the area. I like Wendy’s and her boyfriend reviews. They like the same type of food Suanne and I like … so, every post of theirs are of interest to us and we make it a point to check out some of the restaurants they had reviewed on their site. We like their style of writing too … very smooth easy reading. Check their site out.
We thought we should have a closer look at Stevestone Village ourselves since we had already covered a lot of the restaurants in the Richmond City Center. We were surprised how rich the area is in the variety of restaurants here.
La Tandoor is located on Moncton Street. It is the main tourist stretch … so if you walk down that short stretch of road, you will not miss it. Even when we were one street away, we could actually catch a heavenly waft of cooking curries. It was without doubt where the smell came from. Suanne and I found this amusing and was wondering if there were any complains from the neighboring restaurants.
La Tandoor had won numerous City awards over the years. They proudly display them on their windows with the awards won for Readers Choice award for 2006 and 2007. From the outside they do seem like they had seen better years. It somewhat bothers me when characters are missing from the signage and not replaced because it could reflect on how they care for their business. I really hope they will replace the missing alphabets quickly.
As always, we were at dinner early at 5PM. There were only a couple of tables taken. Not so evident from the outside, the restaurant could fit … oh … fifty people or so. So it is quite large. I like the earthy tone of their decor and it is well lighted with a skylight in the middle of the restaurant. It is clean, no doubt about that.
We were attended by a man who looks like he own the place. He greeted us and asked if we would like to check out their $17 buffet dinner. Although the choices he described seems like a great deal but we declined. We were not very hungry and we wanted to check out their real dishes.
La Tandoor served us water in these traditional water vessels. They were quite heavy. What are these made of, do you know? Brass? Copper? I am sure there is a little story that can be told of these traditional water vessels.
We all like these cups (goblets?) because it came so cold which is so perfect for a hot day.
We were given two dips together with the water. We were told that the dips were meant for the papadams. One of them has a mild spiciness in it and is made from mint (the green one). The other one is sweet and is made of tamarind.
Their thin papadam was awesome. I wish they gave us more than just three. They were large but we like it so much we wanted more. Are papadams generally free in East Indian restaurants and people can ask for more (without extra charge) if they wanted?
Between the mint and the tamarind dips, the spicy mint one is the best. Both dips were great with the papadams but I see that we dip it more in the mint than the other.
We decided to get their combo set and share it between ourselves. The Village Dinner is perhaps the most expensive item on their menu at $17 (which is about the price of their dinner buffet, come to think of it). The platter is large — certainly more than enough to feed two people. This is an assortment of non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes.
One thing we did not quite like here is that they serve their meals with fork and knife. We are not used to eating this type of food with these utensils, favoring using fork and spoon. I think East Indian traditional eat their meals with their hands but generally in restaurants, it’s normally spoon and fork isn’t it?
The Village Dinner came with a large piece of Naan bread. It is plain and is a bit dry’ish and I can feel a little flour at the touch of it. It does look like these are made in-house and not store-bought machine-made ones.
There are two large pieces of Tandoori Chicken on the Village Dinner platter. They are more moist and juicy and I would have thought knowing it could have just came out of a clay oven dry. Got to hand it to them because we liked the tenderness of the chicken. Very well made.
There is also the lamb curry on the Village Dinner. It was just a small section on the platter. The curry on the lamb was rich, spicy and flavorful. I wished they had given more to go with the Naan.
The Aloo Gobi on the Village Platter does look and taste a little too flat. Compared to the other items, it does taste bland. I thought that Aloo Gobi are dry … this one came with curry.
There are a lot of rice … again, it is more than enough for two people.
Since there were so much rice, we ordered a main dish of Okra. The Okra was a wee bit too small. We wished that they should use a bigger variant. The taste of this dish was some what dominated by the stronger taste of onions. We were surprised that the boys liked it so much that they actually ate this. They are very selective about eating vegetables.
We also ordered another dish of Biryani. Their menu has Beef Biryani and we asked for that. They told us they don’t have that for the day and we settled for Lamb instead. The rice was a little soggy but otherwise it was flavorful. There was just a fair amount of lamb meat in this dish.
We had way too much food as usual. Their servings are large. I think we are not able to handle so much food these days. LOL! We are getting too old perhaps.
La Tandoor is a restaurant that serves North Indian cuisine. It seems to us that this is both a neighborhood restaurant and also caters to tourists to the Steveston Village area. The food is respectable but am particularly impressed with the service.
There was an angry customer who came to pick up his order. La Tandoor needed 5 more minutes because they were running behind with too many take away orders. The customer was so angry and I think it was a class act on the part of La Tandoor to defuse the situation. A couple of carefully placed words and a strategically placed plate of Tandoori Chicken not only calmed the customer but had the customer walking out with a smile!
The entire bill came up to $49 including tips. Which is not too bad for a dinner for four.