Indeblue, Philadelphia, PA – A Review

by artfuldiner on July 6, 2021

in Artful Diner Review, Breaking News, Pennsylvania, Review, Wining and Dining


205 South 13th Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(215) 545-4633

Indeblue - InteriorIndeblue, the younger sibling of the popular Collingswood, New Jersey, restaurant of the same name (now closed) made its debut in Philadelphia’s Midtown Village in 2013 – and has been wowing palates ever since.

Chef/owner Rakesh Ramola, who received his culinary degree in Mumbai, India, has over 25 years-experience, including stints in India, Kuwait, Cyprus, and London. Today he continues his illustrious career by dishing out a creative and exciting array of modern/traditional Indian cuisine in the City of Brotherly Love… Not only is Indeblue Philadelphia’s top-rated Indian restaurant, it is also one of the top 10 rated Indian restaurants in the United States.

Indeblue - Spinach ChaatWhile we perused the menu – enjoying a demitasse of asparagus soup and baby provençal naan – we took note of the usual suspects: samosas, tikka masala, and a number of vegetarian favorites. But what Mr. Ramola does best, in the words of one reviewer, is artfully mix and match “traditional flavors with dishes that push the Indian envelope.” And push the envelope he does… and he does it so well that even my permanent dining partner, who would never be accused of being a lover of Indian cuisine, was decidedly impressed. Take his extraordinary Spinach Chaat as Exhibit A. Crispy crunchy fried spinach is teamed up with shallots & chopped tomatoes and finished with a combo of sweet yogurt and tamarind chutney. The result is an appetizer so incredibly delicious and texturally appealing that it is simply off the charts.

Indeblue - Masala Corn Crab TikkiAnd my dining partner also had nothing but kudos for her Masala Corn Crab Tikki, a golden-brown pan seared crab cake topped with kachumber (or cachumber), a salad dish consisting of fresh chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and lemon juice. Quite similar to many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern salads utilizing the same components, the colorful tiara adds a colorful and zesty textural crunch to the proceedings. The pièce de résistance, however is a seductive circle of mango murabba aioli. “Murabba” refers to fruit that is preserved by cooking with sugar, in this case, mango. This is then combined into “aioli,” a sauce made from olive oil emulsified into mashed garlic. The result is, indeed, seductive, an absolutely bewitching combination of irresistibly sweet and savory ingredients.

Indeblue - Seafood Coconut Rasam & CataniThe entrées continue the chef’s good work with two offerings served up with saffron basmati rice… My dining partner’s Seafood Coconut Rasam (farthest from the camera) is a South Indian soup with a spicy-sweet-sour stock utilizing kokum (dried fruit-like cherry tomato), tamarind, or dried green mango juice as a base along with numerous other spices as seasonings – in this instance, coconut and mint. Seafood items include shrimp, mussels, and a beautifully prepared salmon filet. A winner all-around.

My Catani (pictured above, closest to the camera) presented chunks of boneless chicken breast swimming in a sauce of basil tomato, and garlic. The sauce was lusciously creamy, a marvelous treat for tired taste buds… But all would have been lost if the chicken had been improperly prepared (I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been disappointed in a dish that promised much only to be totally defeated at the hands of overdone chicken.) Fortunately, that is not the case here. Every last bite proved to be moist, succulent, and delightfully fork-tender.

Indeblue - Coconut Gulab Jamun & Caramelized Mango Kheer 2The evening of our visit, the menu offered two dessert options: Coconut Gulab Jamun and Caramelized Mango Kheer. The former – tender spongy balls immersed in sugar syrup, delicately flavored with cardamom and covered in coconut scraps – is one of the most popular desserts of India. The latter is the traditional cardamom-scented Indian rice pudding, which owes its particular creamy richness to the inclusion of whole milk that is reduced by half during the cooking process. Both were pleasantly distinctive, extremely tasty, and well worth saving room for.

Indeblue - CocktailsAs far as I am concerned, one of the highlights of the evening came at the very beginning of our meal… with the cocktail list, that proved to be as inventive and as interesting as the cuisine. My dining partner began with evening with the Om Shanti Om, a stimulating combo of bourbon, lemon, orange, and lavender. My Maharani offered vodka or whiskey (I choose vodka), gulab (rosewater) Cointreau, lemon, and orange peel. Normally, we would probably begin dinner with a cocktail and then move on to wine… But these libations were so good, we each ordered a second round. The bartender even dropped by to see how we were enjoying his creations. Just another indication of Indeblue’s excellence service.

In addition to the regular dinner menu, the restaurant also offers a special tasting menu priced at $48.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). The tasting menu is served family style and the entire table must participate.  It includes choice of two Beginnings (appetizers), choice of one Tandoori, choice of two Entrées, a Dessert Sampler and Bread Basket & Chutneys. Additional options for larger parties… Something to keep in mind.

Bon Appétit!

Be Safe & Stay Well


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