Sanford’s newest restaurant may seem a little different than what you’re used to getting in a small southern city, but boy is it good.

Taste of India opened last week at 143 Rand St. in the Jonesboro area, and we’ve been getting all kinds of calls and messages about the quality of food there. So we decided to check out their lunch buffet, and the hype is true – this place is great.

The lunch buffet ($12) consisted of a variety of items ranging from chicken tikka masala (chunks of boneless chicken smothered in a creamy, tangy sauce) to saag paneer (a paste-like concoction of spinach and cheese), chicken curry, and even a spicy fried cauliflower dish that we think is called pakoras. Everything was the bomb, and as soon as you sit down they bring you a basket of naan, a flatbread that’s buttery and delicious and perfect for scooping up all of that sauce on your plate.

If all of this sounds new to you, think of it as southern home cooking with a different set of spices. There’s rice, there’s some heat, there are fried foods, there are rich sauces – it’s different but familiar at the same time.

All of these items and more are available on their pretty extensive dinner menu, so a return trip seems likely.

Taste of India is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, and from 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner. On Friday and Saturday, they’re open until 10 p.m. They can be reached at (919) 292-6344. Delivery and catering services are available.

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