When I think of Indian food, images of a hole-in-the-wall, tandoori smoked dining room with paper menus come to mind. But out here in North Carolina, Indian cuisine takes on a more upscale presentation, whether you're talking about Saffron or my favorite, Mantra Indian. Add Blue Mango on S. Glenwood to the gourmet Indian mix. Located about 3 blocks from Mantra, Blue Mango is located on the same block with Zaky and Tobacco Road Sports. Inside the place is upscale and modern, water sculpture in front and a large bar backed by colored light squares and TV's. The dining room is large, mostly four tops with a handful of small high-back upholstered booths on the side. My friends in stopped in for lunch which presented a limited menu of entrees along with soup-salad and rice-naan. I went with my usual favorite, chicken tikka masala along with a side chicken biryani for the table.
Drinks are brought to the table along with our soups and salads. Immediately I notice the large plates for the salads which means a big presentation. My soup is a mild, tomato puree which is decent but not a creamy as I'd prefer. Next comes a nice basket of soft, nicely baked naan, without much oil or butter. My main shows up in a art-deco white bowl along with a large cup of chicken biryani. My first bite of the tikka masala is decent but not great. The sauce seems a bit simple and lacking the depth of what I'm used to: tomato, spicy, creamy and rich. The chicken chunks are decent but again, they don't blow me away. The biryani is solid but a bit over-cooked with the rice sticking together in clumps. Typically I prefer the biryani tossed where the grains of rice are separated a bit. And while I can't say the dishes I tried at Blue Mango were bad, I wasn't overly impressed either. One area where they also need work is the service. While they are going for the hip-black mod look, I found the staff a bit aloof and unpolished. It took a while for the drinks to make it to the table and I had an overall feeling that they were just not that service-oriented. So what can I say, the Indian food and offerings at Blue Mango are ok but with Mantra right around the corner, I doubt I'll be here too often even though it's in my hood.
222 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27603
3.5 stars out of 5