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Just Discovered

Sankalp Restaurant
11963 Lebanon Road
Sharonville, OH 45241 (513) 956-5678

I often look through web sites and keep an eye on the papers for new Indian restaurants. Like most people I check out urbanspoon for new listings or places I’ve overlooked. While it is informative I don’t always agree with the ratings. For instance, take Baba India, “Wine me dine me” and “Food Hussy” posted reviews and actually liked it. My opinion is, it’s one of the worst Indian restaurants period. Rude service, overly Americanized dishes and rude service (yeah it should be said twice) are all I’ve seen there. When I pay for Indian, I want Indian, not half assed Ameri-Indian. I don’t like being rushed out of my seat, servers sweeping under my table while I’m eating, cold creepy stares, nor empty drink glasses for my entire meal. I also expect the staff to greet me when I come in, and thank me when I pay. Baba does neither and acts as if they simply couldn’t care less about you or your experience.
As I said, urbanspoon’s ratings are questionable at best, even when they are from so called “food critics”. However while looking through the list, I noticed Sankalp. Ole Polly Wolly posted a positive review about them (a rare thing indeed). Sankalp’s menu features Southern Indian food and Indian-Chinese. I was not familiar with it and very interested.
Sankalp is located off 42 in Sharonville straight across the street from New Krishna, I’ve been there before many times. To my knowledge, New Krishna is the city’s only Indian dinner buffet. As with Baba, the over the top rudeness of the staff caused me to cease and desist dining there. I put up with it for a dozen or so times but after a particularly bad incident on the last trip I called it quits once and for all. Restaurants need to realize they have to EARN your business. Not simply expect it. There is too much competition in the food biz to not care about pissing off your customers. News of rude service travels fast and far. It can put you for sale or lease quick.

The review:
Walking in to Sankalp I was greeted warmly and honestly, one might even say enthusiastically. Good sign. As I scanned the menu, I noticed the place was filling up and fast. Good sign #2. Looking closer at the diners that soon crowded the place to near capacity I realized the guy at the next table, as well as my companion and I were the only non-Indians in the place. A very good sign.
Soon Sankalp was a-buzz with families, buffet pans were quickly being wiped out and refilled rapidly. Buffet? We decided to skip the menu and lunch on the spread like everyone else. I’ve tried Indian lunch buffets at nearly every joint in town. You usually see the same basic menu. Not at Sankalp. Nearly every pan held a dish that was totally new to me. I saw none of the usual offerings. Paneer butter masala, chana masala, veg hakka noodles, tadkewalt dal, miki jhuli subji, and sambhar just to name a few. One of my favorites was the dal makhani, featuring lentils and kidney beans in a dark-rich savory spiced sauce. It sort of has a Skyline style flavor to it. Tiny fried aloo tikki potato “tots” were addicting and delicious. Miniature masala vada fritters, a fragrant seminola flour fritter with a mild masala spice mix. An Indian hushpuppie, also addicting.
In true gracious hospitality fashion our server presented us with a free order of fresh cooked dosa for our table. This is a ultra-thin
Indian pancake fried crisp. This simple Southern Indian specialty, comes with a spoonful of spicy potato center, you dip it in fresh coconut sauce. It’s unique and a true treat. And it was free! That’s above and beyond earning your customers business.
To sum up, Sankalp’s food was fresh and unique. Obviously quite authentic (judging by the 99% Indian customer presence) and affordable to boot. The Indian-Chinese menu that had Ole Polly “hyperventilating” with it’s vastness of variety will keep customers discovering for many-o visit. The food is solidly good here. The service was genuinely friendly and laid back.
I felt comfortable the whole time, comfortable enough to continue asking questions about each and every item I sampled. Each answer was given with smiling enthusiasm as well.
I like Sankalp. I like the people and the food. I’ll be back. Next time we will delve deeper into this unique Indian-Asian menu. It has many items that I have never heard of or seen listed at any other Indian restaurant I have been to. Contrary to other reviews, Sankalp does feature meat on the buffet and menu.