Maharaja -- 5/5

1550 N Farwell  Ave
  Milwaukee, WI 53202

Maharaja is a Sanskrit title for “great king”. Does the Indian restaurant on Farwell Ave deserve such a venerable title?

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Maharaja wasn’t the actual restaurant, rather the nagging thought that “I MISSED the lunch buffet?!” It was rather early and my dinner mates and I were thoroughly disappointed. The dimly-lit atmosphere, reminding us of a Hollister outlet, didn’t help that much either. The décor was conservative and pretty average as is for the vast majority of restaurants. However, the menus opened a whole new world! (Aladdin pun intentionally intended.)

It always seems to be Indian restaurants that have the most confusing menus. Mexican? Easy. Chinese? Easy. Japanese? Easy to moderate difficulty. But Indian? Who knows! Our waitress wasn’t of much help either. It was her second day and she was only educated in what customers usually ordered. I didn’t mind—what a more exciting adventure than trying new, exotic foods?

We ordered pakoras and samosas for an appetizer. It seems that Maharaja is trying to keep its American audience with these two popular appetizers. They were, in their most basic form, a filled, deep fried wonton and a deep fried fritter.  These oversimplifications aside, they were a delicious. Along with our appetizers, we were given three different sauces. One was a chutney, the other a spicy oil-type mixture, and the last a refreshing green sauce. Trying these three sauces with our samosas and pakoras was a unique experience—the flavors were more or less alien. We were also given a basket of what I can only describe as an oversized thin cracker. These crackers were the reason why we had to keep refilling our sauces—we couldn’t stop eating them!

In a reasonable amount of time our main course arrived. What came for me was their “chicken makhani”. It consisted of two parts. First, an incredibly aromatic, fragrant basmati rice. Second, a tomato-y stew of chicken, cashews, and raisins. Slowly, I added the tomato stew to the rice.  At the end I was completely stuffed. The whole meal was delightful. It came in elegant dishes and bowls. It tasted amazing. Overall, it was a pretty A+ execution of both the food and presentation. 

After having such an amazing main course, it was no secret that we had to sample one of their deserts. What we chose was their “kheer”, or “rice cooked in milk, raisins, and almonds”. Thinking we’d get a luscious rice pudding, we were surprised to see the watery milk and rice mixture that was set down in front of us. However unappetizing it looked, it was absolutely delicious. It was chilled and was full of a rich, sweet, starchy delectability. Is that even a word? If it isn’t, I’m making it one.

Maharaja was an amazing place to enjoy Indian food. It is a little on the pricey side, but you’re left with a craving for more bite after bite. What am I planning next? My visit to their lunch buffet! It’s such a culinary adventure that sampling all of those different dishes sounds like a great outing!

Is there an event or restaurant you'd like me to check out? Let me know!



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