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WHAT SHE'S HAVING

At Tashan in Bedford, a food-court favorite goes upscale

Mall staple Gourmet India gets a worthy new showcase.

Chaap-e-khaas, lamb chops in a spicy yogurt marinade on a bed of jicama-cabbage slaw.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

You’ve probably seen Gourmet India at the mall — a small stall serving mountainous portions of saag paneer and lamb vindaloo. Food court cuisine gets a bad rap, but this place is surprisingly good: no oily curries or grizzled mystery meat here. In fact, I stop in for lunch even if I don’t have to return something at J. Crew afterward. For years, it was also a popular corporate caterer for companies such as Fidelity and Vertex.

Now owner Vishal Sood has a more sophisticated venue for his excellent food: Tashan in Bedford, which opened in October. It’s a muted, contemporary room in shades of turquoise and gold — a far cry from the Burlington Mall.

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“Our mission is to be different. We’re an Indian restaurant with a fun vibe and elevated plating,” he says. “Normally [Indian food] is served in white bowls or steel copper pots, floating in gravy. A lot more detail goes into our plating.”

And a lot of thought goes into the service: When one of my dining companions called ahead to inquire about gluten-free items, he was pleasantly surprised by the staff’s patience and detail.

“We want to make sure we treat each guest like they’re the CEO of a company,” Sood says.

You’ll find familiar dishes, like a rich, creamy chicken tikka masala and saag paneer. But you should also seek out the more unusual items. Sood recommends the goat cheese kofta, and I do, too. This is an indulgence worth driving for: creamy goat cheese croquettes in a semolina crust, threaded with red chilies, swimming in an onion cream sauce. You might find yourself eating this out of the fridge, cold, at midnight.

Goat Cheese Kofta, with potato and goat cheese croquettes, semolina crust, and onion-cream sauce at Tashan in Bedford. Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Other hits: chuninda bhagare baigan, baby eggplants with the stems on, in a peanut-sesame curry with a hint of coconut, and cumin-scented lamb biryani. A friend who shies away from spice appreciated that her request for mild chicken tikka masala was taken seriously; a friskier eater enjoyed the chaap-e-khaas, lamb chops in a spicy yogurt marinade on a bed of jicama-cabbage slaw.

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There’s a lot more to explore on this menu: I’m going back for the Cornish hen with pickled onions and semolina cakes, and pomegranate paneer. For those who dine in, there’s also a thoughtful drink list: Masti Maker, Old Monk rum and the Indian cola Thums Up; Mango Mirchi, made with Tito’s vodka, mango chutney, chili powder, and lime; and an assortment of lassis and mint sodas. Takeout is also available, and Sood hopes to open for lunch early next year (staffing is a challenge).

In the meantime, visit at dinner for creative dishes that feel accessible but also a tiny bit special — just the right combination of comfort and sophistication for times when we could use a little of both.

Tashan, 213 Burlington Road, Bedford, 781-538-5100, www.tashanbedford.com


Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.