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Kha Zana Indian Grill

4900 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 948-6606

Kha Zana in Mayfair shopping center

Kha Zana means "treasure," and it may prove to be such in the Oklahoma City dining scene. From the outside Kha Zana did not offer much hope that it would be anything more than the typical suburban strip shopping center Indian restaurant that is too "dumbed down" to be enjoyable. With a buffet at both lunch and dinner that prominently features meat dishes, including Beef Korma (something I think is not typically found in Indian restaurants), I made sure it had a decent menu before I sat down to eat.

One of Kha Zana's inside decorations
Kha Zana is as much an art museum as a restaurant

Indian cuisine is not strictly vegetarian, but since this is one of the few types of food with enough flavor and nutrition in the vegetable dishes to be satisfying, the vegetarian dishes are almost always my choice. The number of vegetable dishes on the menu at Kha Zana seemed quite small, but there were enough that I was able to choose between some interesting looking options.

Channa masala
Channa masala for take-home

Channa Masala, made with garbanzo beans and a tomato flavored sauce, was one of the vegetarian clay pot dishes listed on the menu. While the channa (chickpea) could easily have been a very boring dish, the sauce here was very flavorful and made up for the fact that there was a lack of variety in the vegetables. Not knowing what to expect, I asked for the dish to be spicy. The spice level provided was very impressive, and not the "Americanized" type of spice found in many restaurants. The most interesting thing about the dish was the manner in which the spices blended into the flavor of the sauce as I have experienced it in some of the well known Indian restaurants in larger cities. It did not taste at all like the spices were added as an afterthought only when someone requested that the dish be spicy. My only caution is that the dish was more flavorful at other restaurants, such as Ajanta, but that did not take away from my enjoyment of the one here.

Navrattan Korma
Navrattan Korma

Navrattan Korma was creamy and flavorful, as has been the case in most Indian restaurants I have visited. This is not usually one of the spicier Indian dishes, but the "default" spice level I wanted to sample seemed way too low even for north Indian dishes (this tells me that the buffet is probably much the same). I really think it is worthwhile ordering dishes from the kitchen since I consider the spiciness to be an essential part of the flavor element in Indian food.

Perhaps because it was not very spicy, the navrattan korma was creamy to the point that I thought the flavors were unbalanced, and was not very satisfying as Indian food even though the flavor was good. This dish turned out to be disappointing, but this has not been an unusual experience in Oklahoma City Indian restaurants when I did not specify that I wanted it "Indian style."

The Nan (bread) comes free with the meal, and has varied from unimpressive to very fresh and flavorful. The nan at Kha Zana is "fluffy refined flour bread cooked in the Tandoor," so I found it different from the flatter bread served at most restaurants. It looked and tasted a little bit like pita bread.

Kha Zana offers a number of Tandoori style meat dishes including the always popular chicken tikka masala. The buffet, like the menu, does not seem to offer as many vegetarian choices as meat dishes. I did observe quite a few appetizers and desserts, so both meat and non-meat eaters will find plenty of variety. While I traditionally stay far away from buffets, I can understand why the buffet is preferred by many diners who value variety and quantity.

Daal makhani
Daal makhani is not on the menu, but they will prepare it on request

I found that in addition to the limited list of menu items, though, the kitchen can prepare a number of special requests. One I tried was Daal Makhani, a mixture of the familiar yellow lentils with dark lentils. This is a traditional Indian dish, and I thought the one here had a better than average flavor (although Indian food tends to be very flavorful to begin with). As I had found previously, when I ordered it "spicy" it came out just about right for my taste (but not "over the top" so that I had trouble eating it).

The decorations and art work around the restaurant are not only attractive, but contribute to the feeling that one has been transported from a suburban shopping mall to a neighborhood eating place in the Indian sub-continent.

Look for the treasure chest near the door to try some after-dinner mints and spices for a refreshing, and better than usual mini-dessert. The idea of the décor is to remind patrons that Kha Zana is a "treasure," and I agree with this notion.

You will find mints at the treasure chest
You will find mints at the treasure chest

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RESTAURANT DETAILS

RATING: 21

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

Most Recent Visit
Dec. 20, 2010

Number of Visits: 4

Best Item
Daal Makhani

Special Ratings
Channa Masala:
Daal Makhani:
Navrattan Korma:
Nan:
Rice:
Chai (Tea):



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