Now that many of Uptown’s Indian Restaurants have vanished, I was beyond grateful to hear good things about the fare at Dancing Ganesha. If any restaurant deserves to succeed, it is this one. With a top-notch contemporary and traditional Indian menu, plus extraordinary happy hour specials, I hope its favored deity will grant long-term success.
My dining partner and I sampled almost every specialty cocktail on the list—generous, distinct, and varied. The price range of $8 to $10 is halved from 4 to 7 PM.
I couldn’t quite part with the Dirty Hendrix Martini ($8)—my new favorite. A happy marriage of Hendrix Gin and blue cheese-stuffed olives, its simplicity is its salvation.
Luckily for my guest, Sex on the Bollywood Beach ($10) was also a triumph: pineapple rum, peach schnapps, Captain Morgan, and Mango Lasi.
If sweet and fruity is your passion, the Passion Fruit Margarita ($10) masks its tequila wickedness with triple sec, passion fruit, sour, and lime.
The list also features the minty Mango Mojito ($10); the Pama Belleniemosa ($8), a peachy-keen cocktail with a bit of champagne fizz; and a decadent White Chocolate Mocha Martini ($8).
At Dancing Ganesha, some of the most inventive and contemporary flavors are found as appetizers and starters. Dine during happy hour, and a very nice selection can be had for only $5 each.
Out of a few must-tries, the surprise standout is the special starter, Gobi Lahsuni ($9). The description—“chunks of cauliflower dipped in chickpea flour batter, rich in ginger-garlic paste and other spices, sautéed and seasoned”—hadn’t prepared me for how absolutely delightful it was. Despite five years as a vegetarian, I never cultivated a fondness for the cruciferous vegetable. But cooked like this, the pasty, humble cauliflower blossoms into a fragrant, spirited masterpiece.
Chicken 65 ($7) showcases the kitchen’s skills nicely—the meat is tender and juicy, with a solid spicy finish, courtesy of the red chili marinade.
In general, I found the spice levels at Dancing Ganesha to be very approachable and satisfying, but if you want something that will make you sweat, be sure to inform your server.
From the regular appetizer list, we were treated to three selections.
Fried Vegetable Samosas ($5) are a wonderful way to test-drive Dancing Ganesha’s accompanying sauces, as the seasoned potato and pea filling goes with just about anything.
Fish Madras ($8) needs no addition, sautéed to flaky perfection with masala, coconut, and curry.
Tawa Jhinga ($8) is another stunner—tawa-grilled shrimp that carefully has been marinated overnight in garlic, olive oil, and spices. It absolutely is bursting with flavor, yet one still can enjoy the taste of delicate shrimp meat underneath.
A soup and salad course consisted of a velvety Coconut Bell Pepper Soup ($5), which has a very pleasant hint of bitterness to the finish, and the special Chicken Salad ($6), which features our first taste of a masterful tandoori, served with some excellent garlic nan. I had begun to avoid tandoori, because it is rare to find a juicy and tender result, but Executive Chef Swapna Yaramala has perfected the art, best showcased in the Tandoori Platter ($16).
Dancing Ganesha shows a more traditional side in Chicken Tikka Masala ($12); feisty Lamb Vindaloo ($13); cheese and vegetable dumpling Malai Kofta Nargisi ($12); and eggplant Bhagare Baigan ($12) entrées.
The chicken and the lamb are table favorites, but after my stint as a vegetarian, I appreciate that hardier entrées are present for those who prefer not to eat meat. Of course, that’s not rare to find in an Indian restaurant, but both vegetarian selections were wonderful. They would round out a selection of entrées made for a group, carnivores and vegetarians alike.
Dancing Ganesha offers a reasonably priced lunch buffet. It features live music Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights after 10 PM. It also validates parking from its connecting ramp.
1100 Harmon Pl., Mpls.