Saturday, December 14, 2013

Funky Desi Indian Restaurant and Lounge – Moline, IL

D.Rough were in Illinois visiting my family for Thanksgiving and thought we’d try out a new Indian restaurant in downtown Moline. I remember this place being some sort of dance club or banquet hall back in the day, so I was curious what it would look like inside. Plus the name includes “Restaurant and Lounge”, so my curiosity was piqued.

The inside is a weird cross between a nice Indian-decorated restaurant, a neon-lit dance club, and a sports bar (sooo many TVs above the bar). I’m not sure what the designer was going for here, but they’ve covered many bases here – I’m not sure that’s a good thing. But this also allows for plenty of seating – booths along the walls, tables in the dance floor area, and a nice private large dinner table for large groups in the front. It isn’t gaudy, it’s just confusing inside.

We went and checked the buffet out and it looked really good, so we both went with that plan. There were plenty of things up there, as well. Too many to name, and I’d butcher the names of the things if I tried. Veggie pakora, butter chicken, tandoori chicken, matter paneer, and a bunch of other things. I loaded up my first plate and when we got back to the table, the server lady had brought a nice basket of naan bread.

The food was above average, compared to many Indian buffets I’ve eaten at. The paneer was quite good and there was also a noodle dish that I didn’t catch the name of (I’ve never seen noodles at an Indian place, so this one stuck in my head), but it was very delicious. It wasn’t very spicy, but had good flavor. I wish the vegetable pakora hadnt’ been in a covered chafing dish, since that makes it soggy (not that it stopped me from eating about ten of them). The butter chicken was also above average. Overall, a pretty good showing from this restaurant.

I even had to go back up for a second round…. No one is surprised by this, I’m sure.

I generally try not to call people out on customer service unless it’s bad, but there was a younger server there with plugs in his ears (behind the bar a lot, so he may have been a bartender) who crossed a lot of lines with customers. I know HE felt he was being sociable and fun, but he did a few questionable things, including asking two Indian gentlemen why they weren’t drinking after he had tried to push some cocktails on them at lunch. “Is it for religious reasons?” – he ACTUALLY asked these guys this and then wouldn’t let it go. These guys were not regulars or anything, there was no camaraderie here, just invasiveness. Then, he badmouthed our server to the table behind them, saying she didn’t know how to do things and that was why she was screwing up. It was all a bit more than he should have been saying. It wasn’t funny, it was inappropriate and made people feel uncomfortable. Maybe we should have said something at the time. I wasn’t in the mood to be confrontational. If the food wasn’t so good, I may have, just to vent, but I was enjoying my lunch.

Aside from the too-many-televisions-showing-sports and “that” guy, the food was decent and fresh and plentiful. And from the looks of the DJ equipment, speakers, and spinning neon light-y things, I’m guessing it turns into an equally weird dance club at around 8 or 9, when the cocktail happy hours start.

Top 5 things about Funky Desi
1. Butter chicken
2. Matter paneer
3. Our server girl was extremely nice and very competent should not have been bad-mouthed
4. The buffet area was really classy and clean
5. The unnamed noodle dish

Bottom 5 things
1. Invasive and inappropriate server/bartender
2. Odd combinations of environments
3. Too many televisions for a non-sports-bar
4. Covered chafing dishes make battered food soggy
5. Some of the booths were taken up with DJ equipment, which we thought was odd…


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Anonymous said...

You are lucky your digestive survived a visit to the Funky Desi. I mean really, the name says it all. I have worked in restaurants for a number of years and I have to say this place takes the cake for unsanitary food preparation practices. I am very serious, I worked there very briefly and whenever the subject of proper food handling came up I was pretty much laughed at and told to shut up. I can even recall one day right before we were getting ready to open for lunch the chef spotted the health department inspector parking in the rear parking lot he locked up all the doors and turned off the lights while the staff hid in the kitchen! Frozen chicken would be left out all night in sinks full of water to thaw out! OVERNIGHT! And tons of cross contamination. If you are really looking for some good Indian food check out the Great Indian Restaurant in Moline. It's not much to look at but it is delicious!

Nick said...

The above poster is a disgruntled employee. Working there for about 2 months I guarantee what hes saying is completely rediculous. That kitchen is kept very clean and everything is dated and put away at the end of the night. Chef Kevin takes pride in his work and we were just inspected a month ago and had just a few small infractions, which were immediately taken care of. Thank you for bringing up a few of our flaws. I can't fix the TV situation but I can provide better training to the staff. Please come visit again!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you've made it there two months! Must be a record, that place for through more employees than napkins. And no I am not disgruntled, just enlightened. Once you get shorted your pay, get a bounced paycheck you will know what I am talking can lie all you want about how the kitchen is clean, I KNOW better. Are they still paying off ground beef as lamb to their Hindu customers?

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