We are trying to do a highlight reel of Indian restaurants in Connecticut, and the next stop is Kumar’s in Manchester.
The great irony of this attempt is that at a restaurant, you never know what you’re gonna get.
This is why we don’t review restaurants here.
Restaurants have things they do well and poorly.
Kumar’s, as their sign says, represents South Indian cuisine.
But take a closer look at their menu and you see an affinity for the foods from Tamil Nandu, the very southern tip of India on the eastern coast.
Whether that’s reading too into things or not, we tried a selection of South Indian dishes.
Starting with a chicken curry.
Naatu Koli Varutha Curry
This is a spicy curry with chopped bone in chicken.
There is a lot of flavor from curry leaves.
Not curry powder, but a springy leaf-like flavor.
It brings a lot of freshness to the dish.
The Rating: Naatu Koli Varutha Curry
Ennai Kathirikkai Kolambu
Kolambu is a Tamil dish that heavily uses tamarind.
The sauce tastes like it is thickened with tomato, the blend making the sauce quite sweet.
The main chunks of the dish are Eggplant and pearl onions.
It’s not bad overall, a few vegetables in a sweet tomato and tamarind sauce.
The Rating: Ennai Kathirikkai Kolambu
A spicy chicken dish named after a town in Tamil Nandu (seeing the trend?).
This is extremely spicy.
There is a nice initial flavor a hot fresh chiles.
Then, the flavor starts to taste very very dirty.
Not earthy, not like actual dirt.
It’s very off-putting.
You get addicted to the spice but the aftertaste is rough.
The Rating: Chicken Chintamani
Chicken Tikka Masala
Even though this dish is really Pakistani-Scottish riffing off a North Indian dish, an Indian restaurant in CT is expected to serve Chicken Tikka Masala in the same way a BBQ restaurant in CT is expected to serve pulled pork even if they are from Texas.
Plus, its by far the most often ordered dish at most Indian restuarants in CT.
This version is extremely chunky.
The sauce is more of a paste, being extremely thick and sweet.
There are some vegetables strewn throughout which actually are nice and break things up.
Overall, and ironically, it is one of the better dishes tried here.
The Rating: Chicken Tikka Masala
A famous egg dish from (you guessed it) Tamil Nandu.
What is supposed to be an over-easy mixed with curry.
The dish travels poorly, becoming over-medium to over-hard if you get it for takeout.
It’s a spicy egg, with good curry and coriander flavors.
The Rating: Kalaki
Maybe we overinterpreted the presence of so many Tamil dishes from this South Indian restuarant.
Maybe the real stars here are from a different part of South India.
It’s certainly possible, as one of the best dishes tried isn’t a Tamil dish, but the Chicken Tikka Masala.
But if you go to Kumar’s, one thing you have to try is their
Yes, the star here are the fries.
They are just damn good.
Perfectly fried with a light spiced curry flavor.
Just an amazingly executed fry.
The Rating: French Fries
Address: 238J Tolland Turnpike, Manchester, CT 06042
Hours: Open everyday 11AM–3PM, 5:30–9PM