A few weeks ago, my work travels had me traveling for an off-site meeting near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, so my coworker and I found ourselves staying a night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Beavercreek, Ohio, a modest suburb of Dayton.
This is the kind of situation that happens to me a lot, primarily due to my mix of (mostly-governmental) clients: I find myself stuck, often without a rental car, in a suburb outside of a non-major metro area, with few options aside from the hotel’s on-site restaurant, or a loooong walk to someplace only marginally better (like an Olive Garden).
This looked to be the case for Beavercreek as well, but as we were pulling into the hotel, I noticed an Indian place in the adjacent strip mall, called Maharajah of Dayton. I also then remember that the Dayton area actually has a fairly large Indian population (indeed, there’s actually a fairly substantial Hindu temple there), so I decided it was worth checking out.
Well, walking over there, Maharajah was located in one of those half-empty strip malls that seem to be the norm with the current economy, nestled in-between a Bo-Ric’s hair salon and a nail place. Often with American places that makes me a bit nervous, but with various ethnic restaurants I’ve been to, I know that often some of them are in, um, unusual spots.
Walking into Maharajah, it found myself in a large, fairly-ornate Indian restaurant with a substantial amount of seating, but only two other customers. Granted, it was 8:30pm on a Tuesday night, so I didn’t let this phase me either.
I’m rather glad I didn’t, since the food here was actually quite good. The menu at Maharajah is your basic Northern Indian menu, with curries, tandooris, vindalloos, lentil dishes, naans, and the like. Looking over the menu, I opted for their Deluxe Thali platter, which was lamb curry, shrimp vindaloo, dal, tandoori chicken, and poori. They also brought out some pappadums and chutneys.
Upon receiving my Thali p[latter, I was immediately reminded that I’ve started to get used to the rural New England-calibrated Indian food (i.e. “bland and non-confrontational”). Back home in NH, I usually have to beg and plead with our local Indian place to have my food decently spicy, so at Maharajah I ordered everything “extra spicy”.
And “extra spicy” it was, quite powerfully so. Most of my food was very hot, approaching my tolerance level. However, they didn’t just apply a bunch of pepper heat to the food, each of my dishes had quite a broad flavor profile as well. The tandoori chicken was nicely herbed and smoky, with a nice hint of coriander as well. My lamb curry had nice ginger notes to it, and the the vindaloo had bold coriander, cumin, and turmeric notes. Despite the quiet restaurant, my food was quite fresh, and the poori nicely crisp and light.
Overall, I was very pleased with my meal at Maharajah of Dayton: the food was affordable, plentiful, and nicely flavorful. The staff was friendly, and the place very clean. I’ll certainly consider coming back on my next trip, and certainly give more of these suburban strip mall joints a second look.