Sunday, August 5, 2012

Slobblog: Tashan - SWAG on Infinity

We know how you feel, Will. (

"Dude come over,, [sic] we need you here" - text message sent from a Slob hours before Slobfest.

An urgent message from a Slobfest member. Something must be happening at Tashan, and it must be awesome. Some thoughts on what that could have been:

  1. Indian star Aishwarya Rai may be in the house dining on some of Tashan's Best of Philly rated Indian cuisine.
  2. Another celebrity may be in the house. Just recently food gurus Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey have been seen out and about in Philly.
  3. Another celebrity/sports related idea.
  4. A curry wet t-shirt contest.
  5. And, I started running low on ideas that didn't include famous people or hot chicks.
Upon my response to this urgent message, it turns out this was not a rallying cry, but rather a distress signal.

The Thursday we Slobs were due to meet up at Tashan, there happened to be another event booked there as well. Swagger Night. Or, should I say, SWAGGER. The details of SWAG are linked, but basically it's a happy hour thrown once a month at Tashan by the Philly chapter of LGBT. So what a couple Slobs walked into was a happy hour for any willing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgendered individual in Philadelphia. Needless to say they were overwhelmed and needed back up (there may or may not be photographic proof that these Slobs were getting their SWAG on).

Can't be sure, but I doubt this is a part of a Bear Weekend.
Now, we here at Slobfest are open to all creeds, sexes, religions, colors, or other all-encompassing adjectives to get their Slob on and enjoy our company, so this is nothing against the LGBT, but rather a humorous tale of strangers in a strange land. A la Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Doogie Howser, MD.

But alas, SWAGGER at Tashan was merely a coincidence, not an avenue for a "very special" episode of Slobfest where a Slob comes out to the group. So while we were appreciative of the attention, learning new terms like "Bear Weekend" and "Daddy's Kisses," and the continued awkwardness throughout the night it was time to sit down and dine on some modern Indian Cuisine.

The Slobfest crew was playing a little shorthanded, while one long-time member returned from an extended absence due to test taking and Vegas gambling, another 3 were on the shelf for the evening. Even at a 5 top, we were still a formidable Slobfest force.

Tashan is like no Indian place you've been to. Overtly sleek and elegant the ambiance of this new establishment from Tiffin owner Munish Narula is meant to enthrall just as much as the food. The kitchen is stainless steel, exposed, and surrounded by a large bar, booth and table seating that hardly makes you feel, or smell, like you're at an Indian restaurant. 

It's not delivery, it's Tikka paneer on lentil dough.
Even at a glance at the menu would leave one guessing. Beef? Pizza? Yes, it's all there with an Indian flair along with an extensive alcohol menu. Tashan certainly takes its chances stretching the noted curry, spice, and tandoor flavors to the extreme.

While some Indian traditionalists question the concept of messing with just how great "regular" Indian food is, or dealing with expensive Indian food it can be a little contradictory to how a person typically enjoys this type of cuisine.

At Tashan, they are able to mix some traditional food (butter chicken) with some more off-the-wall ingredients like venison or King crab. The key is the balance of still serving Indian food, but outside the confines of what typical Indian food is.

That is not to say that Tashan strays from it's roots that far. You can still help yourself to a big bowl of naan, which is always appreciated.


As we started to order our food, it's important to note that Tashan is family style. So while normal people would have known this and shared amongst the group, we each took on our own apps and entrees so the service was slow regarding getting all of us Slobs our food in a timely manner. Some were picking apart naan as others feasted on Kobe kababs and Mangelorean sausages (no SWAGGER jokes were said at the table), but we eventually all got our food, but any food dropped off at the table was quickly devoured.

One Slob called this the best food he's ever had at Slobfest, while most others seemed to agree this was not only a great meal, but worthy of a re-pick for a future Slobfest or even potentially taking a date here. That is high praise for sure.

Leg of lamb, and traditional chicken bowl.
If there was a complaint about Tashan, our waiter was either terrible at his job or hated us. It probably didn't help that upon requesting the hot hostess to be our server, she went ahead and tried to find a replacement for the waiter. Needless to say, Ryan didn't leave his post and it was a struggle to get water, food, beer, or virtually anything else one would request from a waiter. Now, did we request a female because we were a group of men at SWAGGER night? Perhaps. Hey, the cinnamon ringed drinks, orange sherbet colored shirts, gelled hair, and manicured facial hair didn't help our cause. Perception matters. We are Slobfest of course. 

The other downside came at dessert. Now, Indian food is not known for dessert, but we heard these donuts they had were the tops. Two or three separate people went out of their way to recommend these things, so of course a couple of us were suckered into these dry, non-flavored bricks of, I guess, chocolate? Even though DJ G-Jamz creme brulee caught my eye, I was left disappointed.

One Slob ordered the flaming coffee, of course. What wasn't known is that Ryan in all his incoherent mumbling, sounding like Droopy Dog self actually prepared this table side. Not going to lie, it was cool and impressive. Even our neighbors across the way were enamored, leading to the best exchange of the night.


Guy in Striped Shirt: Could you send me that picture.
Slob 1: I can't, but he can.
Slob 2: Uh, yeah sure.
Striped Shirt: Can you send it to me on Twitter?
Slob 2: Uh, I guess.
Striped Shirt: Do you have Twitter?
Slob 2: No.

So in an attempt to not get a guys number, Striped Shirt's request was passed around like a hot potato eventually falling to one Slob who ended up with a business card and probably an unfulfilled request for a certain photo. Should have sent him to Slobblog!

All in all the night was...interesting. Certainly a completely different experience than Slobfest has ever had culturally or culinarily. It added an element for sure to the festivities and a grand old time was had by all. While I still may lean a bit more towards a $10.95 dinner buffet at a traditional Indian joint, Tashan made an impression, and I'm sure we will return.

Screw you, donuts. You sucked.
-Slobs Out.

777 South Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA

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