Dancing Ganesha

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Image for Benjamin Kutschied

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I'm surprised by all of the low ratings for Dancing Ganesha. I've always had good (but inconsistent and slightly overpriced) food and excellent service. The gobi manchurian appetizer is probably my favorite appetizer in the Twin Cities at the moment. Vegetarian food is labeled, and the servers are very knowledgeable about which dishes are vegan. One big improvement they could make for vegans would be labeling vegan items and adding at least one vegan bread to the menu.

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Service was slow. Out of the lentil dish. The vegan options are very limited. We were adivsed that the rice was not vegan so we had our entrees without rice. The appetizers were good but our server disappeared for 30 minutes before taking our order. We had to ask for him to come and take our order. There are many better options for Indian vegan food in the Twin Cities.

Image for monkkeydragon

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We went late in the evening around 9:15pm. Since the kitchen closes at 9:45 we decided to just get some soup and an appetizer.

All the food we had was great!
Coconut bell pepper soup, sambar soup, and vegetable somosas.
Lots of great vegetarian options. I almost got a full entree, but the prices are a little steep and we didn't want to be rude by ordering too much that late.

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Poor food, no spice, buffet is not warm(I had to ask them to microwave it). As good as Nala Pak was, which, was not. :/

Image for conde.kedar

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Since my first visit to Dancing Ganesha in August 2008 I've been back a few times. I'd hoped it would improve over time but I think it has somehow managed to actually decline in quality on a number of fronts.

The food is not as interesting or as tasty as it was initially. During my first visit the menu took some risks by offering unusual "fusion" concepts such as rougail d'aubergine (smoked eggplant) and water-chesnut and swiss chard pakoras. I thought DG pulled these off well and I applauded them for breaking out from the standard chickpea-lentil-spinach trifecta that normally dominates North Indian cuisine.

Lately though the menu appears to have been dumbed down and these types of dishes are no longer available.

Instead I had a chana masala ($10.99) which was, to sum it up in a single word, imprecise. That is, the dish was not prepared properly and what should have been a curry instead was a red sauce with chickpeas. Chana masala, for all its seeming simplicity, is extremely easy to mess up; if you're not careful about proportions and add too much tomato or tomato paste, you'll end up with a glorified pasta sauce. As such, Dancing Ganesha probably should have served me this dish with penne instead of roti and rice (and they only have white rice, by the way).

I later had a dal tadka ($10.99) which lacked salt and seasoning and was also imprecise: it had not been cooked long enough, so the dish was watery (like a soup) and the lentils didn't become creamy.

I also had an aloo gobi ($10.99) which was acceptable but not worth the price considering the small portion size. All of the entrees come in small portions and don't represent a great value.

Vegans should make sure to ask questions about ingredients, as many of the vegetarian dishes contain dairy, though some dishes can be modified.

I was shocked to discover, for example, that the masala dosa here is made with cream---never in my life have I ever encountered a masala dosa made with cream (and I've been eating dosas since I was a child as my parents are both South Indian). As such, Dancing Ganesha loses points for not only being imprecise, but also "inaccurate" (that is, "inauthentic") in its ingredients.

Lastly, their gobi manchurian appetizer (~$8 for dinner, $5 during happy hour) was actually pretty good: spicy and crunchy. I just wish they had the other Indo-Chinese classic dish, "veg. manchurian" and preferably made in a soy sauce, rather than a tomato-based sauce.

The atmosphere at Dancing Ganesha needs some work. They keep the lights way too low and, what lights they do keep on are blue in color, which is not easy on the eyes. Also, the music is too loud and features an all-Bollywood soundtrack that grows old quickly.

Lastly, the service is consistently slow (though friendly). During each of the four or five times I've been to DG, whether it's crowded or not, I've waited at least 20 minutes for my food, and one time I waited closer to 40 minutes. Given that this place seems to cater to many downtown office workers you'd think they'd have faster service.

On a whole, Dancing Ganesha isn't a great place, though I suppose it's more vegan-friendly that 95% of other downtown restaurants. That said the food and overall experience here are not good enough to warrant a recommendation.

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