On Wednesday afternoon I met up with the almighty MSPD in Burnsville near MN-13 and CR-11 for lunch. There are two hidden combo restaurant and grocery gems located in the maze of commercial parks and strip malls which line this notorious intersection: Florida Oriental Market and Ramadan Restaurant & Grill. While we started at Florida Oriental Market, apropos on a day which hit a high of 50+ in late November, and the menu looked decent, we decided to save that one for another day and try Ramadan next door instead.
Ramadan Restaurant and Grill is set back from MN-13 in a drab and unassuming location not directly accessible from the main road. If you aren’t looking for it I can almost provide a 100% money-back guarantee you will miss it as you whiz by trying to avoid the gunshots and assaults which seem to prevail in that particular area of Burnsville. The restaurant is adjacent to a Halal market of the same origin which is surprisingly sparse until you head to the meat counter in the back where you can buy just about anything from chicken parts to whole goats and cows for very competitive prices ($7.99/lb ribeyes and I’m sure they’ll cut them in front of you as they were today).
We walked into the restaurant and were the only people in the surprisingly cavernous and barren space. The tables looked like someone purchased them at an auction for recently closed girl scout camps from the 1960s. Think sealed knotty pine and cheap booths in one of the largest and most underutilized spaces I’ve ever seen since the now defunct Applewood Rustic Grille just down the street. Aside from a handful of paintings, the tables, a cash register, and the buffet line there just wasn’t much in this place.
After being assured by the two guys carrying tables that they were indeed open and we could go up to the buffet to get our meals. With a line of only a couple of items I have to admit, at first glance, I was seriously thinking about running back to Florida Oriental Market to order some cheap Pad Thai and eat at their single wooden table with two plastic patio chairs instead.
They had tandoori chicken, basmati (vegetarian), basmati (with some meat), some salad, and various other dishes which included meat aside from some mixed vegetable dish all the way at the end. I was honestly surprised at the lack of vegetarian options but I suppose they know their lunch rush business better than anyone. I took a little bit of everything, aside from a beef dish as I didn’t have any more room on my plate, and brought it back to the table.
While the plate looked almost like a plate at any other of the numerous Indian places around the metro, after the first bite my doubts were instantly erased. Ramadan’s tandoori chicken, usually miserably dry and tasteless at just about every other buffet in the world, was tender and juicy while being full of flavor. Laying on a bed of onions and peppers they really nailed this one–something I never thought I’d say about tandoori chicken at a buffet line.
The basmati rice, another item which I usually have to slather with whatever leftover sauce exists after I wipe my plate clean with naan, was full of herbs and bursting with flavor. Perfectly cooked, light and fluffy, this was almost an absolute joy to eat; something which should never be said about rice, ever. The rest of the items, especially the beef dish, were surprisingly flavorful. Ramadan was not afraid to work with a heavy hand when they were loading in the spices and I found my nose running and my mouth burning long after we left even though we were eating from the buffet and didn’t ask for any additional spice.
However, I’m saving the best for last…the price. I ate three huge plates of food and stuffed my face silly (yes, the day before Thanksgiving) with chicken, beef, vegetables, rice and naan and I paid a whopping $7.75 for the pleasure. In all honesty the only time I have been that full for that low of a price was when I stuffed my face with a Nookie Supreme and I still had to pay $2 more to do it.
I am not kidding you when I tell you that if you’re looking for some of the best Indian food South of the River then you’re going to want to head to a Burnsville commercial strip mall across from an Aldi and next to what used to be a wonderful center for saving animals before the mayor let it leave town and die a horrible death along with all the kittens they used to adopt out, and eat at Ramadan Restaurant and Grill. I cannot wait to get back there to try their lengthy regular menu items and I plan to do that soon. Very soon.
Have you ever eaten at Ramadan Restaurant & Grill in Burnsville? If so what did you think? Have you ordered off their menu or eaten their buffet? From what I understand the buffet items change regularly yet are always just as tasty. Do you agree? If you haven’t eaten from the buffet what did you order off the menu? What do you recommend? Aside from Ramadan, Sambol and India Palace, what other Indian places do you recommend around town? Whatever you have to say about Ramadan go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Ramadan Restaurant and Grill
1501 Highway 13 East
Burnsville, MN 55337
Monday to Friday 11 AM – 10 PM
Saturday to Sunday 11 AM – 10 PM
See all the pictures from Ramadan Restaurant & Grill on Flickr here.