Haweli Indian Grill and Bar in Scottsdale: Excellent Naan and Satisfying Korma
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).
Lauren Saria The Tandoori Mixed Grill from Haweli Indian in Scottsdale.
Restaurant: Haweli Indian Grill and Bar
Lauren Saria Haweli Indian Grill and Bar
Location: 7000 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale
Open: Over a month
Eats: Indian, Pakistani
Price: $20 per person
The intersection of Scottsdale and Shea might be the fastest growing neighborhood in Scottsdale right now. Over the last few months the area's seen quite a number of new restaurants enter the scene, including most recently Haweli Indian Grill and Bar.
The restaurant, owned by Sarwan Singh, takes over a space that one housed a sports bar. Since it closed, the space has sat empty. It's now a spacious, elegant restaurant that moonlights as an upscale banquet hall. The restaurant's lunch and dinner menu is quite extensive, featuring more than 70 different entrees in addition to appetizers, salads, and desserts.
Inside, Haweli offers an unanticipated upscale atmosphere (complete with white table cloths and gold satin napkins) that will either be a welcome change or slightly strange, depending on your feelings about fine dining. For context, it helps to know that "haweli" is a Hindu word meaning "private residence" or "mansion." There's a long bar on one end of the room, as well as a patio out front with its own outdoor bar.
Every day during lunch, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., there will be a buffet set up against one of the walls, though you'll still have the option to order off the regular menu as we opted to do.
We started our meal with the Non-Vegetarian Assorted Snacks ($6.99), a variety of meat-based appetizers. The menu description promised two wings tandoori, one meat samosa, two chicken pakora, and one seekh kabob, though we realized later that the meat samosa didn't arrive.
On the upside, everything that made it to the table was quite good. The wings tandoori, baked in a clay oven, were moist and flavorful, just spicy enough to satisfy without being overpowering. Even better was the flavorful seekh kabob, made with minced beef, onions, herbs, and spices. The chicken pakora, or batter fried boneless chicken, ended up being the least impressive of the trio. They both fell flat in the flavor department and were too greasy to be enjoyably, even with the benefit of the accompanying chutney.
For entrees, we chose the Tandoori Mixed Grill and Lamb Korma -- though whatever dish you're craving you're likely to find on the giant Haweli menu. Our friendly server tried to offer a few suggestions (including Butter Chicken, which isn't even listed on the menu but is servered), however with such wide variety, it's still hard to choose.
Amy Silverman The Non-Vegetarian Assorted Starters