MINI REVIEW: The Clay Oven

The south side’s international dining offerings grew by one enthusiastic Indian eatery this summer with the addition of The Clay Oven (7415 US 31 South, 888-2600) in Southport. Priding itself on its tandoor oven, this strip-mall eatery offers up a plentiful menu with everything from chicken kababs to broiled salmon to an abundance of vegetarian offerings. A stop in for dinner last weekend proved that this newcomer can compete with some of the better Indian restaurants in the city. Particularly tasty was a vegetarian appetizer combo with crispy vegetable samosas, golden fried pakora, and alloo tikki, nicely spiced mashed potato patties. For entrees, the lamb rogan josh was a luscious curry with meaty hunks of lamb that didn’t blast our palates away. A side of cauliflower korma was lush and creamy with the richness of ground nuts, though an overabundance of salt had us reaching for our water glasses. Thankfully, we also had a malty Haywards 5000, an Indian brew with a full 7% alcohol (it’s labeled “Super Strong Beer”), which helped make this cheery eatery, with its quite amicable staff, all the more charming.