After the delicious tasting plate we had at the Stuttgart Street Food Market, we decided to check out Restaurant Ganesha to see if their other dishes were just as good. Now as a disclaimer, we actually went here about a month ago, and I've been holding off on a blog post because I hadn't quite figured out what to say. I think I'm finally ready for a summary.
Restaurant Ganesha has three locations -- one in the West, the East, and in Fellbach. We tried the Stuttgart-West location on Rotebühlstraße as it was closest to the friends we were meeting for dinner. My first impression of the restaurant was that it looks stunning. They have a gorgeous entranceway and interior with warm colors, large murals, and lots of plants. Because the weather was so lovely, we chose to sit on the patio out back and were quickly seated despite not having a reservation. This didn't seem to be a problem as the restaurant wasn't very busy, even though it was a Saturday night around 7 pm.
Not two minutes after getting settled with our menus, our waiter returned for our order. However, their menu is over a dozen pages long, including several special menus, appetizers, soups, salads, tandoor specials, vegetarian specials, rice specials, chicken dishes, lamb dishes, Sri Lankan beef dishes, fish dishes, breads, and dessert. We asked our waited to come back, and whether it was my own perception based on my fear of inconveniencing our waiter or whether he actually had this feeling, he looked quickly to the left and rushed off as if he were annoyed.
With a few more minutes, we finally made our choices and waited with our menus closed for another five minutes until the waiter came back. When he did, he quickly took our food order and was about to rush off before we called him back to order drinks. We got a bottle of water and four glasses, and before we got the word Gläser out he was gone, much to the dismay of my friend who would have ordered another drink for herself. At this point, it didn't seem worth it to call him back.
Our appetizers came out sooner than our bottle of water. Matt and I decided to share the Samosas filled with potatoes and peas and the Onion Bahaj advertised as fried onion rings. I was a bit disappointed with the onion bahaj, but that was entirely my fault. I expected to get the gorgeous onion bhaji that I like from Laxmy, which are a bit more like fried balls of sliced onions. However, as it says on Ganesha's menu, their version are literally onion rings -- good onion rings, but still onion rings. In fact, I didn't claim the dish when it came out because I didn't at first recognize them as onions; I thought they were some kind of calamari ring! That said, the presentation was lovely and both appetizers came with a nice salad. The samosas were also just okay, but as Matt pointed out, the filling could have had more spice.
As soon as we were finished, our appetizers were whisked away, and two warmers were placed on our table. At this point we'd finished our water long ago, but not one of the two (or three?) waiters that were serving us asked us if we wanted another bottle or drink. Our entrées came out another five minutes later and again, there was some confusion. The waiter who brought out our dishes tried to serve us a butter chicken, which none of us ordered, and it took another minute for him to find the waiter who took our order and ask, at which point he realized that the dish he was holding was chicken tikka masala and not butter chicken (weird, no?). After that was settled, we seemed to have the right order and could start eating.
Even though I was tempted by the aloo bengen that I'd had at the Stuttgart Street Food Market, I decided to try something new and went with the Ceylonisches Kathri Chicken, a mixture of chicken with eggplant, coconut milk, ginger, tamarind juice, and curry leaves. The dish was advertised as scharf (hot), but I found it to be medium at best. The sauce was thick and good, but it wasn't great. I don't think I have a very good lexicon for Indian food, so the best way I can describe it is to say that the flavor wasn't complex it the way I've come to expect from Indian curries.
Matt's Lamb Madras had a bit more heat to it, but it also lacked complexity to the sauce. Our friends who ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala said the same: it was "good". I will say that the presentation was lovely. Our rice came out in a shiny silver pot and each dish had its own copper bowl on the warmer. We also ordered some Garlic Nan, which even though it wasn't as fluffy as we're used to at our favorite Indian restaurant in Charlottesville, was still better than Laxmy for sure.
Halfway through the meal we had to flag our waiter down for another bottle of water, and then again shortly after that when we'd gulped down the second bottle because we were so thirsty. Both times the waiter put the bottle on the table, and we had to serve ourselves. I've worked in a restaurant before and get annoyed by the fawning, forced friendliness of the American style of waiting and have since come to prefer the German style in which you're taken care of but largely left alone. That said, I was a bit surprised by how bad the service was that night. I didn't feel like the waiters particularly cared that we were there, as if they were distracted, and the patio was certainly not busy enough to warrant that kind of attitude.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed in Restaurant Ganesha. The food was good but not great, which would have been okay had the service and thus our overall experience been better. Still, I'm not ready to condemn it just yet and would like to return on another night or to either the East or Fellbach location to see if their chefs and waitstaff can pull off a better meal. All three locations are open for lunch and dinner. You can check their homepage here for specific times at each location.
Have you been to one of their locations? What was your impression about the food and/or the waitstaff? Please leave your comments below.