Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Priya
Grand River Avenue, Farmington Hills, MI
248-615-7700
Review by MaceVindaloo & Rosie








This restaurant is rather grand-looking because it is located in a building which formerly housed a bank, the type that showed off how much money they had. So there are chandeliers and other displays of fanciness that one doesn't normally associate with Indian food, which is either "sultan-like" i.e. exotic, or cheap, as in cheap eats. The interior has cathedral style ceilings, which afforded the installation (by the bank) of a mezannine floor accessble by a sweeping grand looking staircase. Indian restaurants have a tradition of catering banquets in an attached space from the restaurant, and Priya uses this mezannine for that function, so you can hear the music and chatter of the party, reflected by the domed ceiling onto the diners below.

As usual when entering a new restaurant of a particular culinary style, we ordered dishes we knew so we could assess how good they are. Nothing is worse than ordering something and not knowing if you hate it because it sucked or you hate because you don't like that dish. This included chicken tikka masala; lamb vindaloo; lamb biryani; saag panir; naan.

Bear in mind one of us is a food snob ... the other is a foodie, but a much fairer judge of what's actually good. The snob, living in a big city with many restaurants at his disposal, tends to be harsh, while the foodie is much fairer (and way nicer, too!).

{Snob's evaluation:}
Perhaps by local standards, this might be considered exceptional, or a great effort. But being that I have had Indian food in many places, some of them really excellent (and sometimes not so good), Priya's effort could be considered mediocre and maybe even pedestrian. The flavors were so muted (perhaps to deal with local palates) that they were all but non-existant to me. The meats were kind of overcooked and dry, making them tough; Indian food is normally cooked well-done, so that's no excuse for tough meat. The biryani came garnished like a kegeree, with onion, herbs and boiled eggs. A kegeree is a rice dish which is eaten for breakfast, and perhaps the cook didn't know the difference. It was rather unsettling, as well as bland.

I ordered a mango lassi, but it seems like it was made out of a mix, since it was the same as anywhere else but somewhat thicker and sweeter. Despite these culinary disappointments, the place was full and was popular on this Saturday night. It was about 50% Indian diners, and a mix of Asian, White, Black, etc. for the balance. We can only conclude that the Indian diners got a different menu (this happens in real Chinese places), there are a lack of options in the area for Indians, or I'm missing something. Maybe we ordered all the wrong stuff?


[Foodie's evaluation:]
But, caveat emptor! One of us thought the food was great, and ate plenty with great enjoyment. Even so, there were leftovers, which were packed up for lunch during the week. The biryani and vindaloo (which is normally a highly spiced onion curry gravy) was a particular favorite, and the food in general lacked the high-pitched burn one normally associates with much Indian food.

The mango lassi was so refreshing and so lucious that no dessert was necessary after the meal. And the food was still good reheated as a brown-bag lunch at work. The spices were obvious and people in the lunchroom were envious of the delicious aroma.


So, like the 50% Indian diners here, this review is split, one vote for "don't bother again" and one vote for "delicious and would like to repeat." It came down to personal preference. Sorry about that, but maybe you should go and try it on your own!


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