Restaurant Review: Cardamom, Ann Arbor
Indian may be my absolute favorite cuisine at the moment and one of my favorite spots around my hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is Cardamom. Cardamom’s menu proclaims “Fresh Indian” – and that’s exactly what you get fresh ingredients, made fresh, and incredibly delicious.
Beyond being super fresh, Cardamom is extremely gluten-free and celiac-friendly. Everything on the menu is gluten free, expect for items that are marked as containing gluten. Likewise, all the vegan dishes and ones that can be made vegan also are indicated, which makes ordering really easy. My only word of caution is that some gluten-free items are cooked in a shared fryer, so anyone who is sensitive to that as I am should inform their server.
Cardamom’s menu boasts a variety of gluten-free and plant-based appetizers, salads, and curries. I’ve pretty much tried every vegan item on their menu that does not contain gluten or isn’t cooked in the shared fryer, along with creating my “own” dishes.
A must with any lunch or dinner at Cardamom is the house dal soup. When you eat it at the restaurant, they serve both cups and bowls with a slice of lemon for a nice (fresh) kick. It’s creamy and satisfying just as every good lentil soup should be.
Another favorite of mine is the baigan bartha curry. It’s described as “fresh eggplant, roasted, finely chopped and cooked with green peas in a tomato-based curry sauce.” You can get it, and every curry, cooked either mild, medium, or hot in spice. I usually always opt for mild and it still has a fair amount of spice to it. All the curries are served with fresh slices of ginger on top as a super fresh addition.
Other gluten-free and vegan dishes that I enjoy are the tandoori-roasted vegetable salad (no paneer or flour chips), chana pindi (which is a chickpea based curry), and a sagg curry that isn’t on the menu, but can be made. Sometimes, if they’re not too busy, you can also add other vegetables in with the spinach, such as the cauliflower pictured above.
For those of you who can eat things cooked in a shared fryer, go for the bhindi masala. It’s amazing (I ate it pre-celiac). It’s one big thing I miss. However, with all the other options on the menu, I really don’t feel like I’m missing out too much.
Besides the food, Cardamom has really creative drinks and a great selection of loose leaf teas. My go-to is the moroccan mint, which complements the spicy food well.
In addition, the service is amazing whether you are dining in or picking up carry out to enjoy at home.