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Gopuram Taste of India

4559 NW 23rd St.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 948-7373

Gopuram is the oldest of Oklahoma City's Indian restaurants, and it was also my introduction to Indian food. The buffet at Gopuram offered a variety of items, and exposed me to the flavors of Indian cuisine.

When other Indian restaurants opened in Oklahoma City, I started thinking some of them had more interesting buffets and menu items than Gopuram. My experiences on the west coast were instrumental in pointing out to me that the Indian food at Gopuram in particular and Oklahoma in general was rather bland and limited. I still enjoyed the Indian food in Oklahoma, but I just did not think most of it had the flavor it should have.

In 2008 Gopuram changed owners, though, so this seemed to be a good time to reevaluate everything. Gopuram continues to offer a buffet for both lunch and dinner, and it seems as if almost all customers avail themselves of this option. In the past it seemed that most of what I liked on the buffet were the meat dishes, and these still constitute a good portion of the buffet. It seems as if there are more vegetarian items now, but the breads, desserts, salad bar, and other items on the buffet look pretty much the same as before.

Some of my food ratings are from the times I ate from the buffet when it had the previous owner. Since the buffet does not seem to have changed very much, many of my previous observations are probably still valid. My experience was that Vegetable Korma was the best vegetarian item, but in the "new" buffet I have seen other vegetarian items that I did not see before. The Chicken Tikka Masala was always good, and I think this has always been one of the most popular items. Daal was good when it was fresh, but it usually seemed as if it had been sitting out too long. Dessert was usually the highlight of any meal from the buffet.

The Indian restaurants in Oklahoma City represent different regions of India, and Gopuram serves the northern, less spicy cuisine. I have developed more of a taste for spicy southern Indian food, but northern Indian cuisine can also be very good if it is fresh and has the proper spices (unfortunately all types of food are usually not at their best when allowed to sit out on a buffet).

I did start trying the menu before the ownership changed, but I did not find food that was much better than was on the buffet. One interesting menu item (and also available for take-out) was the Dosa, served in several varieties. It looked like a large burrito with a potato filling. The chutneys served in small bowls gave it an appealing flavor--eaten plain it was very bland. I thought the dosa was good, but the ones I had at Namaste in Edmond set the standard for me.

The "new" restaurant looks very promising for being able to order items from the kitchen that are more interesting than eating from the buffet. To me "interesting" is mainly based on the food being fresh and the cook adding the proper spices. Obviously the buffet has a great variety of dishes, but I doubt if the freshness and flavor can ever match the food cooked from scratch on individual orders.

Daal makhani
Daal makhani is not on the menu, but is sometimes served on the buffet and available from the kitchen

The vegetarian menu at Gopuram is extremely limited, but sometimes looking at the buffet can give an idea of items the kitchen can prepare. This was my strategy when I saw Daal Makhani in the buffet, but ordered it from the kitchen (it is not on the menu). These are dark colored lentils in a dark sauce. It was explained to me that since this sauce is not as sweet as most of the curries, it is not meant to be quite as spicy. Of course not all Indian food is extremely spicy, and other flavors should be present besides chiles. I was impressed that this dish was quite good, and that the chef knew how to prepare it properly.

Cauliflower and peas
Cauliflower and peas was served on the buffet, and was also available as a special dish

The true test for a restaurant, though, may be its consistency. I found this out when the new owner was not there, and was not able to cook as is the case when customers order special dishes that are not on the menu. The "backup cook" prepared a dish of Cauliflower and Peas for me, that I really thought was excellent. This was a case in which I started explaining the type of food I liked, and the waiter made the suggestion for this dish after talking to the chef in the kitchen. The dish was very much like cauliflower kashmiri I have had in other restaurants, but I do not know if it was exactly the same.

I will have to say that Gopuram seemed rather surprised when I tried to order items that were not on the menu, although the chefs seem perfectly capable of preparing them. Customers really have to know what they want, such as if they want different flavored pickles, typically eaten with daal, they have to go to the buffet and get them themselves. In fact, I was not even offered the papadum appetizer by one waiter because they are so accustomed to people eating the buffet and picking up all the items they want on their own.

I think the "new" Gopuram has a lot of potential. I do not know if the food is actually better than before, but it has been easier to find the "special dishes," and the waiters have seemed more willing to talk to the chefs about cooking special requests. So far I have found the food cooked by special request to be the best choices, not only at Gopuram, but at the other Indian restaurants as well.


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Cuisine: Indian
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Tea: Indian Chai
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Beer
Buffet: Lunch and dinner

Most Recent Visit
Mar. 1, 2009

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Special Dishes, Daal Makhani, Chicken Tikka Masala

Special Ratings
Daal Makhani:
Cauliflower and Peas:
Chicken Tikka Masala:
Vegetable Korma: