Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series: Aangan India Bistro
There’s something familiar about Aangan India Bistro when you get it for the first time.
Earlier this year we wandered over after a movie at Marcus Crosswoods, knowing only that it was a newer restaurant and it had a buffet (remember when those were a thing?). Aangan is located inside of a former night club, just north of 270. While some of the night club vibe remains, overall the wide open space brings a nice atmosphere to the place. After being pleased with the buffet, we came to learn that Aangan India Bistro was opened in August by the founding family of Amul India. Amul had been our top spot for a while and although I hadn’t noticed, the Lady of the Farm had mentioned the quality seemed different at Amul. The sale of Amul and opening of Aangan in August 2019 explained that a bit, but would the same previously spicy dish from Amul be the same from Aangan? I had to find out because the first time I had it it blew me away.
Starting with the naan, it was becoming more clear things were back to how we had come to expect them to be at Amul. The sizing of the naan is generous and even after delivery it’s extremely fresh. This particular naan is the paneer naan (cheese inside), but there are nine others to choose from including the Bullet Naan, loaded with green chilis and garlic. Highly recommended to add some extra punch to your naan. If that’s not your thing, the also have naans stuffed with onion, cauliflower, raisins, chicken, the list goes on. Excellent for dipping and soaking up the flavors of their entrees.
Bright orange, the korma is thick and creamy. I tend to dip naan in and steal some from the Lady of the Farm and have thought about also getting korma, but don’t want her to accidentally feel the pain of a Level 6, so I stay away. The first time she had this from Aangan, she got the Level 3 (out of 6) and it lit her up pretty good, so she dropped down to a 2 this time around. She still got some nose sweats at Level 2, but it was a comfortable heat for her. This is one of our favorite kormas in the city and the Lady of the Farm is refusing to go anywhere else at this point. She yelled, “this, THIS is what I meant. This is the korma I remember!” Why she was yelling from two feet away I was unsure, but the message was becoming more clear, the Indian cuisine we had grown to love at Amul had packed up and moved to Aangan India Bistro.
This, is my bowl of fire. The Level 6 Lamb Vindaloo. My first introduction to Indian cuisine when my tolerance was lower and it made me cry. Even looking at it initially, the deep red beckons to you saying come on in, the water’s fire. Taking a whiff before putting it over rice, the heat jumps out. There’s a major hit of the cumin, turmeric and peppers, creating a spicy spa day for the lamb and potatoes that sit within the mix. An initial taste before mixing it in with the rice sealed the deal. I was met with an immediate punch of flavor, followed by a slow wave of heat. When I say slow wave, I mean slow. It really creeps up on you. You’re enjoying the blend of spices and the tenderness of the lamb when suddenly the warmth turns to heat, and the heat turns to fire. If eaten straight, this Vindaloo will have you mouth breathing.
Once mixed, the heat spreads out a bit, but a bowl full of this stuff still gets close to a mouth-breathing heat. Having grown more accustomed to high heat levels, I sat with it, inspected how it traveled around and was pleased that the linger lasts for a few minutes. The more naan eaten or rice added, the less intrusive the heat becomes, but that redness gets straight into your spicy soul and hangs out. Let’s not forget about the next day with this (and no I’m not talking about ring sting), after everything has had more time to marinate and sit together. The portions are large enough at Aangan that you can be satisfied eating about half of the bowl they give you, so the next day, everything is elevated. The flavors are better, the chunks of lamb are more tasty and the heat punches even harder. A fat kid at heart, it’s tough for me to not eat the entire thing in one go, but knowing that an extra day will warp whistle you into a bonus heat level makes it easier. Sitting back, nose dripping, I laughed and yelled at my dogs “It’s back!” I’d rediscovered the vindaloo that made me cry back in 2014.
If it wasn’t apparent from all the above text, Aangan India Bistro takes over as our top spot for Indian cuisine in Columbus. Reflecting on the initial heat, this is definitely the spiciest vindaloo we’ve had in the city, but where is it on our list? We’re dropping it into our top 20 at #19 on the list, just after the Quaker Steak and Lube Triple Atomic Wings and bumping down the Thai Grille Extra Spicy Pad Kee Mao. I’ve also been told that I need to try the Vindaloo with pork instead of lamb, something about the fat from the pork kicking it up another notch, but regardless, I’m stoked to have Aangan India Bistro around.
You can find Aangan India Bistro at 7520 High Cross Blvd, Columbus, OH 43235. They are open for takeout and delivery via Door Dash at the moment, but be warned they do close from 2:30-5:00 most days.
Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!
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