Dinner tonight was at Misal Indian Bistro. It has been in Norman for as long as I can remember and is one of the few restaurants on the south side of Ed Noble Parkway that has survived over the years.
Walking from the outside door into the vestibule you feel like you are being transported from Norman, Oklahoma to a restaurant in India. It definitely helps set the atmosphere and ambiance. This little detail lets you know that Misal has been well thought out and makes you feel like you are going to be expecting something special. When we went inside we were quickly greeted by an overly but not obnoxiously friendly owner. He sat us and later took our order. Our waitress didn’t arrive to work until later.
We took our time looking at the menu and catching up. We were catching up more than looking at the menu actually, and didn’t feel like we were being rushed to make our decisions.
After looking at the menu I was having a hard time deciding between the vegetable sampler plate and the eggplant bharta. I really wanted both. I decided to ask if I can remove the kachumber salad and substitute that for the eggplant. It was no problem for them to do so. The owner said there would be an extra charge for this but I don’t know if that made it on the bill or not.
My dad was having a hard time deciding as well and he asked me for help. Even though the Tikka Masala is not technically an Indian dish, it is a popular item and I know he liked it from Himalayas, so I suggested he get that. My dad also got a Shiner Bock, and I got a Bass dark. We also decided to get the hummus dip appetizer as well.
Our appetizer and drinks came out quickly. The beers were in bottles and we were given warm glasses to pour them in. We set the glasses aside since they were warm and just drank out of the bottle. This was a bit annoying. Why would you bring warm glasses for cold beer? I want my beer cold, not warm. The hummus was pretty good as well, it seemed like a really small portion of hummus for two pieces of naan. I could have used at least twice as much hummus. It would have not gone to waste at all. The hummus had an orangish red tint to it, I am guessing that they put paprika in the hummus. It tasted like normal good homemade hummus to me. I like how they cook their naan. It is made fresh to order in a clay pot. It has a nice slightly charred taste and is soft and fluffy.
When there was a couple of bites left in our hummus the owner asked us if we were ready for our entrees and after we indicated so they were brought out.
My veggie platter was really good. The lentils were nice and flavorful, I actually dipped my naan in the lentils and ate them as a dip I could have used more lentils, and the way they were served in a ramekin at first I thought they were a dip. The potato bhaji had a nice flavorful curry like taste and the potatoes were perfectly cooked. The baigan (eggplant) bharta was really good, it was different than what I have had in the past because they roast the eggplant in the tandoor instead of the oven, so it has a slightly smoky / charry flavor to it. It was odd at first but the flavor is good. The basmati rice was nice and flavorful and had enough turmeric or saffron in them to make them a pretty yellow color. The rice went well with everything else as a base, and was flavorful enough as a stand alone item.
My dad really enjoyed his Chicken Tikka Masala. He liked the flavors and liked the riati (spiced yogurt) that came with it as well. He dipped his naan in it. He didn’t have anything left on his plate when he was done. I think I made a good choice for him.
Shortly after our food came out our waitress showed up for her shift. She was very friendly as well and took the time to pay attention to our questions and weirdness.
Overall our experience here was very good. The dining area makes you feel like you are in a building in India with the accents on the windows, the pillars in the middle, and the other little touches inside. You can see the man making the naan through the window behind the bar. The staff we came in contact with were really nice and were all smiles. They had no problems with my (easy) special request. The only negative I can think of is the fact that the beer glasses were warm.
During lunch they do have a buffet.
Misal can be found at:
580 Ed Noble Pkwy,
Norman, OK 73072