March 6, 2008

Ithaca Bites: Spice of Sangam

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Sangam, a restaurant that serves traditional Indian cuisine, lies on Eddy Street amongst more well-known Collegetown favorites. With respect to the food, Sangam lives up to its rather ambitious name, which refers to the merging of two hearts.

The menu is extensive, perhaps a little overwhelming. The appetizer list includes both meat and vegetable samosas (filled crispy turnovers), Alu Tikki (spiced potatoes), and both chicken and vegetable Pakora (“fritters”). The entrée list is also pleasing for both vegetarians and meat lovers. Various Tandoori specialties are available, including prawns, chicken, and lamb.

The Tandoori prawns are crispy and tender. For $13.95, however, the dish is a little disappointing, consisting of six small shrimp that are overwhelmed by sizzling onions and peppers. For those who desire stronger, more intense flavors, the shrimp curry will not disappoint in any way.

Priced at $12.95, the portion is larger and the dish is extremely satisfying. The “medium” level of spiciness is perfect for those who like spice, but prefer not to be downing water the entire night. A necessity of the meal is one of the 10 traditional Indian breads that are offered. Perhaps the most well known to Americans, the Nan is soft, crispy, and succeeds beautifully.

My dining companion had only positive comments about her Boti Kabab (lamb marinated in yogurt). She was less impressed, however, with the service. After asking for a lemon, she never received it. Our waitress also did not come by to see if we needed anything else after our meal was served.

Sangam’s décor is disappointing. The tablecloths are uninteresting; each table alternates between either red or yellow. The walls are not decorated with anything special, and a simple touch such as some low-key Indian music could add significantly to the ambiance.

Service and décor aside, the next time you find yourself nauseated by the idea of dinner at Appel, Samgam is definitely worth a try.