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Dusmesh (Review)

Standing apart from the many local Indian food establishments

By Brian Cross · March 25th, 2009 · Diner
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I’ve long felt that the one thing missing from Northside’s eclectic restaurant scene is a good Indian restaurant. Meanwhile, a number of Indian restaurants of varying quality thrive just up the hill in Clifton. Settled right between these two neighborhoods at 944 Ludlow Ave., across from Cincinnati State, Dusmesh fills the void (the one between Amol and my apartment).

This location used to house India Palace, so it’s not a new location for an Indian restaurant. But Dusmesh stands out by bringing something more to the table. The Dusmesh staff exhibits attention to detail in their food and service that gives them an edge over the competition in a neighborhood replete with Indian restaurants. And that’s exactly what’s going to keep this restaurant going — it’s not just another Indian restaurant in Clifton. It is arguably the best.

After inviting my friend Lauren to Dusmesh with me, I realized how so many Indian restaurants survive so close to each other. Try telling a few of your friends you’re going to eat at a new Indian restaurant without them, watch how they react, and you’ll see why too. Indian food is big in this town, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Lauren and I settled into a booth in the dining room, which features glass-top tables with white tablecloths, warm orange walls with big windows and nice curtains. Our server was also nice, if a little soft-spoken.

After perusing the extensive menu of Northern Indian dishes, we decided to start with the Keema and Samosa ($3.49), two large pieces of fried pastry filled with mildly spiced beef. It was one hell of an appetizer. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The skin was crisp and flaky and the filling was moist and flavorful.

We both thoroughly enjoyed them.

When some other guests arrived carrying a couple bottles of Heineken and a bottle of wine, I realized that one thing Dusmesh lacks is a liquor license. They do have a small bar and lots of wine glasses, though, so it seems to be in the works. But for now we’ll have to settle for the BYOB policy. I like that policy; it means an infinite selection of affordable drinks or, you know, whatever you can find at IGA and fit into your man-purse.

Lauren got the Saag Paneer ($9.49), a typical choice among my vegetarian friends. It consists of homemade cheese cubes, spinach, cream and spices. Lauren, a fan of spicy food, went for the spiciest level offered, 6. It turned out not to be very spicy at all, but the menu explains that they tone down the chili pepper content of their food to showcase the flavor of the dishes using fresh, quality ingredients. As a foodie, that’s an idea I can admire. It has somehow become popular to drown out the complex flavors of cuisines like Indian or Thai with copious amounts of spice. But despite the lack of spiciness, or perhaps because of it, Lauren said it was the best Saag Paneer she’s had.

The menu also mentions that rich ingredients are toned down, but both of the dishes we had were still rich with layers of flavor. I went for the Lamb Rogan Josh ($12.99), which is quickly becoming my favorite Indian dish. Chunks of lamb are cooked with tomatoes and spices with a touch of yogurt. I normally accept the fact that the lamb in such a dish will be a little on the chewy side, but this time it was remarkably tender. The dish was another winner.

We ordered plain traditional Indian Nan bread ($2.19) to accompany our entrées. Our verdict was split. She liked it a lot, but I didn’t care for it. It wasn’t bad, but I’ve had more flavorful and chewy Nan at other places.

Before bringing the check, our server brought us a complimentary dessert. It was a small “Indian doughnut” in a little dish with sweet syrup in the bottom. It was a nice treat, and is another example of Dusmesh’s proclivity for impressing their guests.

I was so impressed that I stopped in again for carryout. While another guest and I looked over our menus, the employees gave us suggestions.

“What do you like? Chicken, lamb, vegetarian?” Since the answer was lamb, they recommended the Lamb Rogan Josh and the Lamb Korma. I ended up taking away some Chicken Tikka Masala, just to try it, and it was right on par with the other dishes we tried.

Dusmesh also offers a variety of seafood and vegetarian dishes, Biryani and other rice dishes and a lunch buffet. There’s really something for everyone, so go try your favorite Indian dish prepared delicately and without all that spice. You’ll be glad you did.


Go: 944 Ludlow Ave., Clifton
Call: 513-221-8900
Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Entrée Prices: $8.49-$14.99
Payment: Major credit cards
Red Meat Alternatives: Plenty
Accessibility: Fully accessible



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