Khaana Khazana: Fun to Say, Fun to Eat Indian Cuisine in Chandler

Categories: First Taste

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Photos by Laura Hahnefeld
Pudina paneer tikka and paneer tikka
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

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Restaurant: Khaana Khazana
Location: 4929 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler
Open: Almost a month
Eats: Indian
Price: $11 to $30 per person

Khaana Khazana is a lot like Cafe Krishna, the restaurant it replaced. In fact, it's pretty much the same thing.

See also:
- Original Breakfast House: A.M. Eats and S.O.S. in Northeast Phoenix
- Bink's Midtown Is a Must (Especially When It Comes to Veggies)

With a name that translates to "treasured foods," the restaurant has the same owner, new management, and, instead of offering both northern and southern Indian dishes, now focuses on just the northern ones.

Not such a bad thing.

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Gobi Manchurian
You'll find many familiar Indian dishes here, including several selections of thalis (meals made up of various small dishes), as well as starters, chaats (Indian street food), and light entrees.

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Khasta Kachori
The khasta kachori chaat, ($5) which has origins in northwest India's arid region of Rajasthan, is very good. Made with small pillows of crisp, golden puri (deep-fried bread) stuffed with a spiced filling and covered in handfuls of chili and cumin powder, onions, coriander, sev (thin strands of fried and spiced gram flour), and a few dollops of yogurt, it's a boldly flavored sweet, spicy, and tangy snack.

For those who like paneer, the vegetarian-friendly Indian soft cheese, ask your amiable server for an off-menu plate of paneer tikka and pudina paneer tikka ($6). Served with veggies, the grilled chunks of cheese are crisp on the outside, soft within, and the pudina variety makes for a refreshing, minty complement to its slightly spicy partner.

And although you've probably had Gobi Manchurian ($8), the popular Indo-Chinese appetizer, at other Indian restaurants in the Valley, Khaana Khazana's version -- thanks to battered and deep-fried cauliflower florets that are pleasantly fresh, crispy and sauteed with veggies in a spicy, sweet, and tangy sauce -- might be one of the better ones.

With the exception of a few minor updates, the space is pretty much the same as the former Cafe Krishna, a large and orderly room with appointments of Indian decor and -- at least for now -- booths and tables awaiting customers.

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Location Info

Khaana Khazana - CLOSED

4929 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, AZ

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
1 comments
Sandy
Sandy

Check on Yelp in filtered comment..

It seems that the Yelp editors filter out any review that does not rate the facility as 'high'. I am making one more attempt to make myself heard. In short -


Khana Khazana's menu & taste are mediocre.
Food is over-price. 
I will not go there again & will not recommend to my friends and family. 

For my very detailed review that justifies my above conclusions, please click on the hidden reviews. I am giving a single star, because there is not option to give zero stars.

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1 Previous Review: Hide »
  • 3/31/2013

    We are eager to try out this new restaurant with its claims of 'Rajsthani and Gujarati Food'. Before I elaborate, I will sum up my experience in three words: disappointed, overpriced, wont-go-again. 

    First the menu: most Indian cuisines have have either vegetable or lentil based preparations as main courses, accompanied either with rice or flat breads (called either chapathis, rotis, pulkas or naans). They occasionally also have yogurt based preparations like Raitas. In Khana Khazana, there are two types of orders one can go for - either light snacks - which are mostly oil fried dry snacks; the second kind being the "Thalis". In my experience, no one eats dry snacks for lunches - they are eaten for evening snacks and are usually devoid in any vegetable nutrition. 

    The "Thalis" are an assortment of dishes served in small ounce-sized steel cups arranged in a large circular steel plate. At the center of the plate is either rice or flat bread. Depending on whether you ordered a Rajasthani, Gujarati or a Kathiawadi "Thali" (which literally meant a plate in Hindi), you got either rotis or puris. Puris are oil fried flat bread that look puffed up & each is about the size of 6" tortilla. 

    One is at first impressed to see at least 8 little cups (called "Katoris" in Hindi) filled with different ingredients. In my case, after ordering a "Kathiawadi Thali", I had the following ingredients: (One scale of 0-5 stars (5 being best, and 0 ( - ) being worthless), I have also placed by rating next to each item)

    1. one mixed vegetable preparation ( * * )
    2. one sambar like soup that is close to sugar syrup in taste ( - )
    3. rice cooked together with moong lentils (somewhat like the south Indian Pongal) ( * )
    4. A second vegetable preparation made with ridge gourd  ( * * * * )(http://commons.wiki…)
    5. Boiled moong dal with skin ( _ )
    6. small amount of pickle ( * * * * )
    7. two small quarters naans (flat bread) smeared with ghee (clarified butter). ( _ )
    8. Two tiny gulab jams about the size of truffles. ( _ )

    My family members who ordered other "Thalis" got puris in place of Naans. They are too oily and not puffed the way puris should be. There is no second serving or offering of the items in the Thalis. In some Thalis, one ingredient is "Gud", or a small cake of brown sugar. IMO, with the exception of the two vegetable preparations, the whole Thali is a worthless eye dazzle with little food to eat. The portions are so small that a $14 price tag per plate is the most expensive food I have eaten in years in a restaurant of this kind. 

    What is seriously missing in the menu concept is the the ability to order one or two things of one's choice in a larger quantity - a la carte. Either you have to order snacks or Thalis. The Thalis are filled with tiny portions of items that most people do not care. When you go with children, you have very little choice - kids are known to eat only one thing - the rest of the Thali goes waste. We specifically asked for our 6 and 8 year olds to order only the things they love to eat without having to order a Thali - there was little choice. Guess what we had to do -  after ordering here for the adults and few snacks for the kids, we had to take our kids to Taco Bell so they got something for a lunch. Had I known it, I would have spent $4 at Taco Bell for a better, more nutritious and filling food at Taco Bell for myself too. 

    What else is missing. When we went in on a Saturday afternoon, there were about 7 family parties of various sizes - ranging from 9 to mostly 3 or 4 in count. The restaurant was only 25% occupied. Usually, in all Indian restaurants, Thalis are arranged from precooked dishes that are ready to serve upon order. In our case, we had 4 Thalis ordered. It took them a total 40 minutes to bring all the Thalis, one after the other spaced by 10 minutes each. When one of our kids returned from a baseball game towards the end, we decided not to order for him since it might take another half hour (Taco Bell at that point was an easy decision). 

    Being a south Indian, I am thoroughly versed with every variation of authentic south Indian cuisine. I have on rare occasions visited North India and ate authentic north Indian food. But, Khana Khazana is serving a brand without substance. 

    Another point to note. Naans are usually made from lightly yeast-fermented wheat floor after rolling and rerolling the flour with a rolling pin. One can observe the layers of wheat dough when an authentically preparnaan is broken. Most Indian restaurants in the US (Khana Khazana included) are serving a fake version of Naan. They are essentially taking bread flour, rolling it flat once and toasting in oven. It does not get the texture and taste of a good naan in this process. 

    Summing Up:
    Will I go to Khana Khazana again: NO
    WIll I recommend Khana Khazana to my friends and family: NO
    Did anything in the food are service stand out:



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