What: Teji (in a strip mall off 620 in round Rock)
What I Had: Apps: 2 Dips: Tamarind Chutney & A Spicy Green Substance w/Pappad. Entrees: Chicken Tikka Masala: chicken breast prepared in fresh spices, herbs, yogurt, and barbequed on a skewer in tandoor. Hara Bara Chicken: cooked in Indian Spices, fresh cilantro, green chilies, and mint paste all accompanied by Garlic Naan.
Simply mouthwatering good Indian food. Only in the last year have I come to be a big fan of Indian food, so I will not claim to be an expert. I will be up front though. Teji is the best I have had to date. On my first and only trip I was blown away that a little grocery/restaurant with about 8 tables could produce the delicious food that I was served. I have always been a big believer in the hole-in-the-wall type places. Teji exceeded all expectations.
It all started on one of those nights when the wife and I just couldn't decide where to eat. So I went to the trusty yelp and somehow stumbled across Teji which had 4 stars on only 16 reviews. Not one of those reviews has a single bad thing to say, so we went trekking up to some obscure strip mall in Round Rock. We found that some of India has been strangely transported to Round Rock. Why you ask? The answer is for pure foodie pleasure.
We shyly took our seat in the empty dining room. Since we arrived an hour before closing most of the food coming out of the kitchen was for take-out. We were eagerly greeted and served by the hostess who we later found out was the sister-in-law of the owner. She was super friendly which took some of the awkwardness out of being one of the two tables in the restaurant plus she was happy to answer all of our questions.
We were promptly served the Tamarind Chutney and spicy green "salsa" with which to dip our crispy Pappad into. The first bite was of the green stuff and it had a rich spicy flavor. It was nicely contrasted by the sweet almost syrupy Tamarind Chutney. We were well off to a good start.
We did find that all utensils, plates, cups, etc were plastic and self serve. Which was not a big deal and it suited the atmosphere of the place. Claire chose her classic Chicken Tikka Masala and I ventured out with the Hara Bara Chicken. Of course we couldn't skip out on the Naan. We went with what seemed to be the popular choice: Garlic Naan. They have about six different choices ranging from plain to garlic to Keema (lamb stuffed). Our meal arrived within about 10 minutes if not less and we dug in.
This Naan may have been the stuff that they called manna back in the day. It might have fallen from heaven this very night. It did pack a garlic punch but hey its the spice of life, right? As you can tell I thoroughly enjoyed Teji's naan. As soon as our food arrived we dived in. Both of our meals came out in styrofoam bowls that are deceptively large. Once again we come across the lackluster tableware but the food more than makes up for it.
The Tikka Masala was superb. I think we are slowly figuring out what Indian food flavors we both like. Going to authentic places like Teji definetely helps. Even with the popular dishes like Tikka Masala at Teji you just can't help but feel like your in a little shop in India.
I hadn't ever had Hara Bara. I was rewarded for my courage. The green chile chutney that the chicken swam in was hot, I mean it was spicy, but oh so good. It was one of those dishes I won't soon forget. The meal itself was an experience that will continue to bring us back to Teji. We both had plenty left over to take home and make second meals out of. I think Teji could easily turn itself into a full blown Indian Restaurant and hold it's own against Austin's best. I do hope they take this place to the next level otherwise due to the lack of ambience it will continue to be a really, really great take-out place.
Cheap, delicious, and way out of the way, even for people that live in North Austin.