I didn’t start eating Indian food until later in life (within the past five years), and I must be making up for lost time because it is a genre of food that I crave often. (What was I thinking going this long in life without regularly indulging in this cuisine?!) Thus, BK and I decided to satiate our mutual desire for Indian by checking out the newly-opened Swad Indian Restaurant in North College Hill.
If you’ll remember, BK and I first tried Dusmesh in Week 3 of my first Tour de Cincinnati. We both liked it well enough, but that was also before new owners bought the place in July 2013. Said new owners recently opened Swad (translates to “tasty”) in the former Van Zandt space on Galbraith Road at the end of April and, with hearing rave reviews about the place from friends, we decided it was time to give it a try.
Indian food is one of those delicacies where, strangely enough, I get the same dish everywhere I go. It is because of this that I feel I can truly gauge how great a given Indian restaurant is for me. So Paneer Makhani it was for me; Chicken Tikka Masala for BK (he orders this most of the time but not always)—both a 3 out of 6 on the spicy scale; and Garlic Naan to share. My thoughts:
- The spice level was perfect. I beaded up a bit with sweat on the ol’ forehead, but it was a pleasurable spicy that danced on the precipice of Just a Little More and This Would be Too Spicy.
- My paneer was perfect. It was fresh and the texture was just how I like it.
- Even the garnish on my dish was amazing. I’d never seen such a thing, so it was an added bonus.
- The garlic naan, as always, was awesome. I always thought Dusmesh did naan the best of the area restaurants, and Swad does it even better.
- I was very impressed by the service. Both of the people who served us throughout our meal were extremely friendly, attentive, and refilled our water so that we never went without (which is often a gripe of mine when eating spicy Thai or Indian food). We were even given complimentary Honey Dumplings (breaded and fried paneer dipped in honey) for dessert. Spoiler alert: they were awesome.
- At $25 (before tip), we thought that Swad was one of the slightly cheaper Indian meals we’ve had, which ranks with some of the best North Indian restaurants in the area (Ambar and Shaan are a couple of my favorites).
- It should be noted that Swad is open six days per week and has a lunch buffet every day they are open, even on the weekends.
I judge my Indian experiences on three things: the quality of paneer, naan, and spice level. Swad not only lived up to all three, but it lived up to it’s “tasty” translation, too.