The new Ugadi Indian Grill restaurant is a feast for the senses

Friends, family and fans of his food kept asking longtime caterer Raj Gandavrapu, “When are you opening a restaurant?”

Late last month, Gandavrapu opened Ugadi Indian Grill at 2306 Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro, the former location of BurgerIM, which closed in April.

“It’s like a passion, Gandavrapu said. “Nothing gives me more satisfaction when you bring food to a table and people say the food is so good.”

Everyone seems to be raving about Ugadi. So I recently had lunch with our intern, Seyna Clark. Long story short, it was a good meal. I’ll be back.

South Indian cuisine

Ugadi is a bit different as the region includes dishes not common in other parts of the country like dosa, idli and biryani.

On the menu at the Ugadi Indian Grill: lamb biryani, a traditional dish from southern India, is made with Indian spices, rice and lamb (or other meats).

Dosa is a pancake-like dish made with a fermented batter consisting mostly of lentils and rice, which is then fried and can be filled with a variety of things. Idli is a tasty rice cake. Biryani is a spiced rice dish.

I’m not one to try to brag about how hot I can tolerate a dish. So we chose medium and honestly, could have been hot.

“We keep it medium to spicy. But if you want super spicy, we can do that,” Gandavrapu said.

On the menu

Here’s what we had, what we liked, what we loved, and what we probably won’t order again.

We started with the mango lassi, a creamy drink made with mango, yogurt, milk, sugar and a pinch of cardamom. It was like a thick creamy juice and neither of us cared, although her 3 year old did.

The naan was perfect too, although they didn’t have the garlic naan that day.

Then we had the samosas, a pastry with a savory filling of potatoes, peas and spices. The mint chutney was a perfect match for these crispy treats. If you go make sure you get an order.

Next comes navratan (vegetalbe) korma, a creamy sauce made with potatoes, peas, carrots, green beans, onions, tomatoes, nuts and spices that is served with rice. This is a must try Indian dish for me and perfect for vegetarians.

Seyna chose the grilled fish tawa, which was probably our favorite dish. We both agreed that the crust alone was worth eating, but the fish was, well, not fishy. It’s made with all the best Indian spices like fennel, garlic, turmeric – and many more flavors we may never know. Bottom line: this is a must if you’re a fish fan. I also tried it with a bit of mint chutney which was a nice addition.

Raj Gandavrapu, left, owner of Ugadi Indian Grill in Murfreesboro, stands with manager Parven Mathu, at the restaurant located at 2306 Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro.

Our third starter was a traditional lamb biryani, a traditional South Indian dish that I had never tried before. It is made with a variety of Indian spices and rice which garnishes a kind of meat. The lamb we chose was tender and full of flavor. Seyna wasn’t a huge fan, simply because the baryani she’s used to isn’t as sweet as our dish.

We ended our meal with an order of gulab jamun – fried balls of batter soaked in an aromatic syrup and spices. This is probably something I wouldn’t order again because of the texture. If they were dry and rolled in something like cinnamon and sugar, I might reconsider.

What else to know

Ugadi is quick and relaxed service, so you order at the counter and sit yourself down. There are bar seats as well as a table and booths. It is also suitable for children.

Soon you will be able to order online and gradually the restaurant will add partnerships with third-party delivery services.

Catering is available. Email [email protected] or call 615-973-2155 or 248-862-1381.

Contact reporter Nancy DeGennaro at [email protected]. Follow the news of the restaurant by subscribing Good Eats in the ‘Boro (and beyond) on Facebook and follow Murfreesboro eats on TikTok.

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