Breaking a long drought of not dining out, I decided to satisfy my curiosity about Tamarind Grill during Taste of Hartford Restaurant Week, an event I would find more enjoyable if there were more vegetarian options and/or if the $20.10 price felt worthwhile for the existing veggie options. Since meat-free meals are generally less expensive, restaurant week usually means getting less of a bargain. It’s not that these restaurants have nothing vegetarian on their menus — they do. But if the goal is to get new customers via the restaurant week, they should have no problem catering to what is a sizable portion of the population. If a self-described steakhouse does not want to do this, there’s no love lost, but most restaurants do not fall into this category. A small salad, pasta, and dessert cost far less than $20 to prepare. If most of the participating restaurants added a glass or wine or a hearty appetizer to the vegetarian option, I would call it fair.
I decided to have my food adventure at a place that actually was not taking part in Taste of Hartford. I’ve walked past Tamarind Grill dozens of times since it opened on Pratt Street. I ordered the Mango Tofu, an entree priced at $10. Mango is sweet, right? It was labeled as mild; mild is not the same as bland. The dish was spiced enough to give it flavor, but not so much that the taste was dulled by a burning mouth. The mango did not overwhelm everything else with sweetness. The tofu chunks were generous and prepared well. The portion was twice as much as I could eat in one sitting, so I felt like I got my money’s worth out of this dish. I am not overly familiar with Thai or Malaysian cuisine, so I do not really have anything to compare it to. They are open every day for lunch and dinner.