You know that spot in the Minneapolis skyways near Zen Box that has been a million things, most recently all Indian, including Ipotli and Spicy Touch? (Did Ipotli get the cease-and-desist from Chipotle it seemed they must? Did Spicy Touch get a lot of confused phone calls looking for exciting massage? Now we will never know because they are gone and we are not.) Well, I have lunched at the newest Indian spot in that turnkey tradition, Kadai, and it is really good. Really, really good!
Here’s the deal. First you decide if you want the meat-eating option ($9.99) or the vegetarian one ($8.99). Then you decide if you want your food to-go, or for eating on-site. If on-site, you get a big cardboard compartmentalized tray, and walk the line pointing at stuff that a server scoops and places on a tray, and when your tray is full you’re done. I was quite impressed with my first visit. So was everyone else, because there was a line snaking out the door and down the hall.
I liked the chicken biryani. A lot has been written about the perfect biryani, in which each grain of rice is a delicate separate entity held slightly apart but entirely unified, like the leaves of a delicate flower. This was definitely in that territory, and the chicken in it was profoundly spiced and very tender, a massive step above typical skyway Indian. The chili-spiked green beans and lentils were gorgeous, the lentils al dente and firm, the beans rich and irony. The chicken curry was a home run, layers of tamarind and tomato making it round and deep-tasting. The spinach dahl was full of delicate baby lime leaves and fresh spinach, herbs, and bell peppers—one of the best I can remember. And I liked everything else. It’s hard not to damn with faint praise when considering skyway Indian, phrases come to mind like: I could really tell it didn’t come from a can! But I liked Kadai way more than that, it’s a place I’ll be back to try more from, and often.
600 Marquette Ave. S., 256-472-2545, kadaimsp.com