Tonight, after getting home from geocaching around Menomonie, WI I was looking for somewhere different to eat that would give me the spicy food I desired. We haven’t eaten Indian food in quite some time so I poked around on the web and found Sambol in Eagan, MN. When I brought up Sambol I expected to be immediately shot down by Kim who isn’t much of a fan of trying something outside her comfort zone. I was shocked when she agreed and soon we were out the door to Sambol.
They open for dinner at 5pm on Sunday and we arrived at about 5:45 to a nearly empty restaurant. There were only 5 people, at three tables, all next to the window. After waiting for a large takeout order to be carried outside and some other minor business to be attended to, we were seated in the far corner by the window overlooking most of the restaurant. The place was decorated nicely and there was some soft Indian music playing in the background. Everyone at their tables seemed to be enjoying the food they had and I was looking forward to my meal.
I opened the menu and on the first page they say, “Sambol restaurant was started with a simple idea — to provide a unique dining experience that will bring back memories of far away lands… The cuisine is an artful blend of exotic ingredients that finds its influence from India and Sri Lanka which includes flavors from all regions of the two countries.” Sounds good so far!
After much decision making, we chose their Vegetarian Sampler Platter (for two) which included samosa, paneer pakora, vegetable pakora, and alu tiki for $9.95. We also ordered a side of garlic naan to nosh on. Kim chose their Palak Paneer which is a dish of homemade cheese and spinach that’s gently spiced for $11.95. I asked the waiter to recommend something spicy as that’s what I was looking for tonight (to clear our my sinuses affected by allergies) and he offered two dishes. The first I didn’t catch but he mentioned the Chicken Tikka Masala which I was actually considering and went with that. He asked if I wanted it “spicy” or “very spicy”. I went with “very spicy”. Chicken Ikka Masala is described as tender pieces of chicken cooked in a spicy sauce of tomatoes, made heady with chopped onion and green pepper cooked to a creamy perfection for $13.45. Sounded very yummy.
After taking our orders, I looked over the drink and dessert menu. They have numerous wines and beers available ranging from your typical domestics ($4.25) to beers imported from India ($4.95 to $7.95). They also offer Chai, Lassi (a fruit and yogurt drink in Mango, Strawberry or “Sweet”), a mango milkshake and mango juice for $3.25 each. There were several dessert items listed and all sounded quite tasty. When assuming Kim wouldn’t want to try Sambol, I told her that the desserts looked so good that she just had to try it ;)
Our appetizer was out first with two sauces (I am unsure of what either were but Kim and I really enjoyed the brown one) and then a few minutes later came our garlic naan. The appetizers were absolutely fantastic and were very reminiscent of what we ate at my buddy Manu’s wedding reception in Los Angeles. The garlic naan was very tasty and I quickly snarfed it down while Kim enjoyed her’s a little more slowly.
Our food came out in two bowls alongside a another of rice for my dish. Kim’s dish was a deep green color and mine a very bright orange-red. As I was taking photos Kim mentioned that she could already smell mine. After putting my nose directly up to each dish I was able to smell them but with the allergies wrecking my sinuses it wasn’t as pronounced for me.
I took a small bite of mine before asking Kim if I could try some of her meal. The menu didn’t intend for her dish to be eaten with rice but she chose to do it that way so I did it that way as well. I was immediately impressed with the flavors and was quite surprised at how very good it was. My dish was equally as impressive. It wasn’t as spicy as I really had been looking for but the flavors were not muddled and all had me really wanting for more and more — I had to hold myself back to save some for lunch tomorrow!
We ordered desserts after dinner. Kim went with the Gulab Jamun (deep fried milk balls in sweet syrup) and I went with their mango custard (creamy mango pudding with fresh fruits) for $3.55/ea. My mango “pudding” didn’t have much of a pudding consistency but tasted very good. Kim’s milk balls were very sweet and reminded her of doughnuts. I didn’t care for her dessert at all but I thoroughly enjoyed mine.
In total, with a large appetizer, naan, dinner and two desserts, our bill was just under $48. Please note that they will automatically add grituity of 15% for parties of 4 or more.
While we are not at all well versed on this type of food we both agreed that this was a top restaurant for us and comes highly recommended for service, ambiance and food. I am really looking forward to returning for their lunch buffet as well as future dinners with friends. It certainly rocked what we had at Tandor in Bloomington. If you’re looking for a nice night out and some decent Indian food, we recommend that you give Sambol a try. Please let us know what you think.
1260 Town Centre Dr
Eagan, MN 55123
Tuesday – Friday: 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Tuesday – Sunday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Check out all the pics from Sambol on Flickr here (camera).