This time we started out with the appetizer sampler for two ($8.95). It was tasty, and filling, but nothing spectacular. On the other hand, the entrees were wonderful. I had the shrimp tawa, and my partner in eating crime ordered chicken vindaloo.
I'm used to entrees at Indian restaurants being served in bowls, with rice on the side, and a clean plate on which you can splop your food as you wish. This wasn't the case with the shrimp tawa. It arrived on its own plate, reasonably artfully arranged, although no chef would win a prize for its presentation. The sweetness of the tamarind sauce was balanced nicely by the bite of the fresh cilantro, which I love. The crunch of the raw veggies was a good contrast to the texture of the shrimp. I'm not sure whether the thinly sliced raw red onion is typical of this dish, or peculiar to the Philly area.
The chicken vindaloo was served in a bowl, with rice on the side. The sauce was hot, as expected, but not enough to produce eyebrow sweat. The chicken was tender, with no odd bits of bone or cartilage. I've tasted spicier vindaloo sauce in NYC on Curry Row (E. 6th St., between 1st and 2nd Aves.), or up in Curry Hill (Murray Hill, along 3rd and 2nd Aves.), that also had a lot more oil in it. Still, this was nice and spicy, without the excess oil, which I think is a plus.
As before, service was courteous, but this time we had leftovers. The waiter had no problem bringing them back to the kitchen to box them up for us, and came back with a paper bag with handles. Hey, it's a little nicer than something that looks like a grocery bag -- not that it would have mattered. Service was a bit faster this time, even though there were more customers than the last time we visited.
The shrimp dish was a bit of a splurge (for Indian food), at $25.95, but the chicken was a more reasonable $18.95. I also ordered a glass of sweet iced tea, which might be too sweet for the average northerner in America, but it was just like anything you'd find south of the Mason-Dixon, which suited me just fine. Altogether, our tab came in a little under $61.
As you can see, the decor isn't overdone, nor is it underlit. I waited until the other parties in the room had finished their meals and left, before I snapped this shot. It wasn't this empty when we arrived.
Dining at Cross Culture is a pleasant experience, overall.
What you need to know:
- parking can be an issue during the week, but there is a pay lot a block away
- they do not deliver, but take-out is available for both lunch and dinner (phone in your order ahead of time, for faster pick-up)
- it's BYOB
- the lunch menu is the same as the dinner menu, with each dish priced a few dollars less