We both agree that DakShin is hands down the best Indian Restaurant in Louisville. Believe us, we have taken our adventurous palates to several others around town and to put it simply, nothing compares. Located in the Eastland Plaza at 4772 Bardstown Road, we consider it to be the hidden gem of Indian food lovers. We entered into the bar area and were greeted by a smiling hostess who sat us immediately in the dining room that can best be described as cozy and rustic. It almost gives off a log cabin vibe with unfinished oak walls and booths. Despite the dim lighting, our eyes were mezmerized by bold colors and images of "Bollywood" music videos playing on two televisions, and the colorful fabrics worn by the female wait staff, who sported the traditional Indian style of dress. The insane amount of curry filling the air was almost intoxicating. With coriander, cumin, cloves, and dozens of chillies enticing us in their aroma, we were so ready to have an Indian platter!
Unlike most Indian restaurants around town that only feature Northern cuisine options, the menu at DakShin uniquely offers both Northern and Southern, as well as "Indo Chinese"cuisine. Word on the street is that all the chefs are from South India, so it is not surprising that southern culture is reflected in the atmosphere and that southern cuisine is the specialty. In fact the word "DakShin" means "The South". However, there is a multitude of menu choices that represent other parts of India. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the enormous menu, we were relieved to find a list of food descriptions. We dined with two other pals that gave us the chance to sample and share several dishes. For appetizers we indulged in a couple of "palate safe" preparations including the Gobi Manchurian, which is listed on the "Indo Chinese" category of the menu. The Indo Chinese is great for the timid diner who prefers a suble amount of spices. A Ginger, garlic, and onion sauce was cast over fried and battered cauliflower, a great start. Next, we tried a northern app called Samosa, a delicious stuffed pastry filled with herb pototoes, this was truly a treat. At some point we were given a tray of various dipping sauces such as a sweet Chutney, citrisy Tamirind, and mild Peanut sauce.
A southern dish called Chicken Madras was our favorite by far. It was moderately spicy and creamy with captivating coconut milk mixed among other nameless spices, and tempered with curry leaves. Our friend's entree was good but seemed weak in comparison to the powerful flavors in the Madras. They ordered Chana Masala, a vegan dish that featured chic peas with a blend of subtle northern spices. This choice would also be considered "palate safe". Both entres were served with a portion of white rice and we tried a few of the southern signature sides including Dosai, a thin rice and lentil crepe stuffed with potatoes, onions, and mouth-watering spices, "This thing is freakin huge!" said Michael (see picture below). And Oothappamas, a thick rice and lentil pancake, great for dipping in sauces. We noted that several vegetarian and vegan dishes are offered. Portions are adequate and the prices are generally under $10 for dinner.
At the end of our feast, the server brought a bowl with warm lemon water for hand cleansing and a tray of fennel seeds and cardamom pods to aid in digestion. Beth was not feeling the licorice taste but forced herself to take a handful anyway. Despite having a "Stomach of Steel", she worried about the aftermath of digesting a meal with such exotic spices. Don't worry, the seeds and pods did their job well. Our server was super helpful with check separation and the other wait staff were very attending throuhgout the meal. They are no doubt, professionals when it comes to private parties and catering events, which DakShin does as well. This was an incredible Indian dining experience and we cannot wait to go back for more!
Just remember the next time your palate is feeling a bit adventurous and you wanna spice it up, you can always call your pals and head to DakShin...it's where the Holladays prefer their Indian platter. Until then, live to eat!!