• Steven Keith

Nawab’s Indian takeout tastes just as good at home

Beloved Kanawha City restaurant has been doing a brisk carryout business, for good reason

Chana Masala from Nawab Fine Indian Cuisine

Our mission to highlight local restaurants that are still hustling despite the Coronavirus crisis continues, with this week’s spotlight shining on one of my very favorite restaurants in the area: Nawab Fine Indian Cuisine in Kanawha City.


It’s also a place that truly lives up to its name, serving a mighty fine selection of Indian specialties – including a mega-popular lunch buffet that is among the best I’ve seen.

Chicken Tiki Masala from Nawab Fine Indian Cuisine

Our takeout meal this week consisted of perfectly spiced vegetable samosas stuffed with potatoes and peas, traditional Indian Mulligatawny soup with pureed lentils and vegetables, tandoori chicken and lamb, plus a salad of diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and cilantro that – the menu says – comes “with a touch” of tangy sauce.


That “touch” of green paste (think of it as a darker green wasabi) covered the salad and darn near killed us with its heat. So, yeah, like ask for that on the side.


But we recovered to thoroughly enjoy tender lamb cooked in a rich dark curry, broiled lamb kebabs marinated in spices, crab meat masala sautéed with roasted spices in a zesty tomato-onion sauce, and fiery lamb vindaloo with potatoes. (Don’t worry, you can ask them to dial the heat up or down as much as you’d like.)

Tandoori appetizer from Nawab Fine Indian Cuisine

And, of course, we sopped up all those amazing sauces with loads of basmatic rice and a big basket of warm-from-the-oven naan.


Nawab offers so many more amazing things to try as well, including chicken, lamb, goat, seafood and vegetables served in a variety of preparations.


You can enjoy tikki masala entrees simmering in a tangy tomato and butter sauce with fresh herbs and spices, or saag dishes cooked in spinach spiked with freshly ground ginger, garlic and spices.


There are korma options bathed in a creamy cashew and almond sauce with mild spices, herbs, nuts and raisins, plus biryani mixed with saffron-spiced basmati rice flecked with cashews, raisins and fresh herbs.

Naan from Nawab Fine Indian Cuisine

My absolute favorite dish may very well be the chana masala, featuring garbanzo beans and diced potatoes cooked in a Northern Indian-style sauce.


Or, if you’re not sure what you want, try the Nawab Special offering a great Indian sampler platter of vegetable pakora, tandoori chicken, lamb kebab and curry (your choice of chicken, lamb or goat) with basmati rice and naan.


So many good options.


  • FOR MORE INFORMATION: Nawab Fine Indian Cuisine, 200 35th St. SE in Kanawha City, is open for takeout and delivery from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day but Sunday. Call 681-265-9777, 681-265-9799 or order online at www.nawabcharleston.com.

• • •

With restaurants and readers alike bouncing around the idea of having a special “Restaurant Week” type of celebration when this whole mess is over, Charleston’s minor baseball team has stepped up to the plate now.


With 2020’s season opening delayed, the West Virginia Power is turning it promotional attention to a coordinated effort to feature area eateries that are continuing to stay open and serve guests during this extended quarantine.


This “Restaurant Takeout Week” effort will promote two restaurants every day on the team’s social media channels – one for lunch, one for dinner – that are still offering food for pickup or, in some cases, delivery.


“These restaurants and their employees have become the beating heart of the Charleston community during this unprecedented time, keeping thousands of people employed and providing numerous families with food on a daily basis,” David Kahn, the team’s broadcast and media relations manager, said in announcing the promotion.


“With this event, the Power would like to honor these essential services for going the extra mile and sacrificing time from their families and loved ones for the city of Charleston and surrounding communities during their time of need.”


To see who the Power has featured so far, and who’s on deck, you follow the promotion on the team’s Facebook page or on Twitter and Instagram through @wv_power.

• • •

Shortly before self-isolation became our new way of life, I had the pleasure of bumping into Lia DiTrapano Fairless, who was kind enough to pass along a bottle of Villa DiTrapano Olive Oil’s 2019 harvest, fresh off the vines.

Villa DiTrapano Olive Oil

“People really love this harvest,” she told me, “and these olives were still on trees in Italy in November, just four months ago.”


You can tell!


The olive oil tastes incredibly herbal and fresh, immediately whisking me back to memories of Italy – a place I can’t wait to get back to once it’s safe again to do so.


In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for a taste of the old country by enjoying Villa DiTrapano Olive Oil drizzled on roasted vegetables, fresh salads, crusty breads, fluffy omelets and more.


If you’d like to do the same, Charleston residents can now order bottles to be safely delivered to their front porches. Just email villaditrapano@gmail.com, where you can make arrangements to pay via PayPal, Venmo or check for a truly hands-free transaction.

We’ve already gone through most of our bottle, so we’ll be ordering a replacement very soon.


• • •


Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at wvfoodguy@aol.com.

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