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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dinner at Spice Club Indian Grill

Spice Club Indian Grill (SC) is a restaurant in San Carlos Park, FL serving traditional Indian cuisine. I had seen a lot of complimentary comments online about SC and decided to go and take a look. The owner, Shahinoor, had an Indian Restaurant in the UK for 5 years and decided to take up shop in Southwest Florida after moving here.
The restaurant is a bit hard to find as it's located in a somewhat nondescript shopping plaza in San Carlos Park.
The interior of the restaurant is quite accommodating with a mixture of hi tops, booths and tables to dine at.
We tried a a couple of things from the appetizer menu, vegetable somosas and haleem.
The somosas were really good. Somosas have a shell made from flour that is deep fried and come with a filling made up of curried potatoes, peas, onions and other vegetables.
We also tried the haleem, known as the "stew of stews". The ingredients include lamb, pounded wheat, milk, lentils, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric and other spices such as cumin seeds, caraway seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, saffron, jaggery (modified cane sugar), allspice and sometimes pistachio, cashew, fig and almond.
The flavors were extremely complex and very, very good. The owner also sent out an order of papadum which is a very thin disc of fried lentils with a texture similar to potato chips. This was a perfect vehicle to sample the onion, tamarind and mango chutneys that were served to us.
We then moved onto a few of the entree items. Chicken Chettinad was the first thing sampled, and was absolutely delicious. The dish had a very large pepper note due to the large pieces of cracked peppercorn in it and was spicy but not intolerably hot. The Chettinad has roasted dry red chilies, kalpasi (a dried moss), coconut, poppy seeds,coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, ground nuts and onions which are ground into a paste with garlic and sesame oil. The chicken is then marinated with yogurt, turmeric powder and ground paste. Highly recommended.
We also sampled the lamb Achari, or lamb cooked with pickling spices. One preparation of this dish calls for mustard oil, fenugreek, mustard, cumin, fennel and onion seeds, red chilies, onion and garlic paste, tomato puree and tumeric. This was also a very good entree, especially if you like the mango pickles and such of Indian cuisine.
The owner most kindly sent out a vegetarian dish of malai kofta. This is a dish with vegetable dumplings (kofta) in a curry sauce. The dumplings are typically made from cottage cheese, potatoes, chili powder, corn flour, garam masala (a spice mix) and either almond flour or evaporated milk. The curry can be prepared from onion, tomato, cashew paste, chilies, tumeric, ginger and fenugreek. All of these dishes were wonderful accompaniments to the basmati rice and literally small dog-sized portion of naan, an oven baked flat bread made from scratch in house.
The prices at SC are very reasonable with appetizers prices at 6-8 dollars, and vegetarian (also vegan), chicken, beef, lamb and seafood entrees prices at 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15 dollars, respectively.
The food at SC is incredible, reasonably priced and can accommodate all types of diets from vegan to everything else. The owner of a local Indian grocery store in Naples had remarked that Woodlands in Fort Lauderdale was one of the best Indian restaurants serving traditional Indian cuisine in South Florida. I have had the pleasure to eat at Woodlands and SC is definitely right up there with them. For those that enjoy this type of cuisine I cannot say enough about SC and hope readers will take the time to stop and smell the "culinary roses" here.

Mural, Spice Club Indian Grill

Spice Club Indian Grill
18001 S. Tamiami Tr.
Fort Myers, FL 33967
Spice Club Indian Grill Website

Lunch from 11-3PM and dinner from 5-10 PM; closed Wednesdays; Credit cards other than American Express preferred; Kid's meals available

Spice Club Indian Grill

Haleem, vegetable somosas, papadum and onion, tamarind and mango chutneys.  
Chicken Chettinad
Lamb Achari

Malai Kofta

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