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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Sun–Thu 11:00am–9:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–10:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


Far South Austin
5207 Brodie Ln.
Austin, TX
(512) 892-2008
Tarka Indian Kitchen
Fresh-tasting fast Indian that’s nice for the price

This is Clay Pit’s Indian entry to the fast-Asian game. The ordering process is familiar: pick a protein, pick a sauce, and maybe grab a side. The customer-as-chef principle works fine, mostly because the curries here have been made more or less interchangeable, so there isn’t really a failing combination. Korma and coconut curry are nearly indistinguishable, for instance, but undeniably enjoyable.

The contemporary décor fits amiably into the polished strip-mall suburbs, lit warmly with pendant lamps and decorated in earth tones. You might take a shopping break for just a thick lassi, available in mango, pineapple, mixed berry, or guava. These are airy and delicious, with more concentrated fruit than usual. Less charming is the awful wine and beer selection—skip it.

Among other things, “tarka” means “garnish,” referring specifically to the dimensions added by a purposeful garnish. This is especially successful in a samosa chaat, where surprising, pleasant high notes come from a topping of tomatoes, raita, and al dente chickpeas (check your order: we’ve gotten it home to find it without that critical raita). Proteins tend towards a little toughness, and even ordered at their hottest, vindaloos are still only moderately hot. Flavors tend to overwhelm each other, but they’re good in that intense, fast-and-cheap way. And for a take-home or vegetarian option ’round these parts, it can’t be beat.

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