You have to give me a pretty good reason to brave Airport Boulevard west of Interstate 65. No offense to you oh-eighters, I am simply a creature of habit. For an adventure beyond my normal scope, I need a mission of sorts, and this episode’s mission was important enough to call out the big guns. Agent 549 was along for the ride, as was Agent 548. But on a covert operation of this magnitude, we needed the top dog from the Cold War: Fierlis Litre. Our mark was an exotic locale, Indian in nature. You may know the place as Fusion of Flavors.
Fusion of Flavors is a fair piece down Airport Boulevard, a little past Cody Road. If you make it to Academy Sports you’ve gone a bit too far. It’s on the left heading west in a strip of businesses, in a suite next door to a now-defunct firearms business. Fierlis, with a keen eye for weapons trade, noted, “How does a firearms business close in South Alabama?” Maybe they outgrew this location. We had no time to investigate this mystery as we entered the restaurant.
Fusion of Flavors may not exactly be in an exotic spot, but at least the interior of the facility is somewhat fancy and ripe with carved furniture. We were seated at a table with two chairs on one side and a bench seat on the other, all three of which had backs best described as ornate. The bench doesn’t make for a quick getaway should our cover be blown, but the comfort factor was pretty decent. It’s just a little difficult scooting up.
This place is authentic, with a decent language barrier between us and our waitress. My well-traveled associates were able to get the point across, and the owner came out to let us know a bit about Indian food. At her suggestion we ordered an onion dosa ($7.99). The log-sized dish was a first for us. This could be the Indian version of a burrito at first glance, but it is actually a crepe made from fermented rice and lentils cooked golden and folded over spicy onions. Ours was served with three different chutneys.
Our second appetizer was one of my favorites. Samosa chaat ($6.99) combines my love of the little pastry samosas on a bed of potatoes, onions and chick peas. Each of the half dozen or so samosas was drizzled with a sweet sauce that carried a hint of spiciness. This is my favorite appetizer at Indian restaurants, and I may have eaten more than my fair share. But I was kind enough to allow my fellow diners at least one each.
Thus far everything we shared had a decent amount of heat. This place doesn’t play around when it comes to spicing it up a bit. With that in mind, Agent 548 ordered chicken korma ($11.95) medium. That was daring enough, but the nutty flavor of the korma prevailed over the heat. The only korma dish better than the chicken is the lamb korma ($12.95). I was glad to see Fierlis ordered this one, also at a medium heat. He usually is cool as a cucumber, but this meal was making him sweat.
Agent 549 enjoys the spice and without hesitation ordered chicken makhani (aka butter chicken, $11.95) hot. It didn’t matter how much rice you added to the tomato and butter sauce, this dish was on fire. Despite the flames it was still a very enjoyable dinner.
My litmus test for Indian food is shrimp vindaloo ($12.95). Tonight was no exception, and although I had enjoyed everything so far, I wasn’t as crazy about this restaurant’s version. I ordered it medium, and it was pretty hot, but the sauce was a little too pasty. I just couldn’t get into it. It wasn’t horrible, maybe a foul ball.
Lucky for me I knocked it out of the park when I also ordered the chicken soup ($6.95). I cannot explain how delicious this broth was. I would actually go back if you told me the only thing I could order was the soup. It is one of the best versions of chicken noodle I have experienced in a long time. I still don’t know what led me to order it, but I’m glad I did. Hot soup in 100-plus-degree heat index is not most people’s choice. I don’t allow logic to dictate my eating.
This was my first visit to Fusion of Flavors and I will say I was more than impressed. In true Indian fashion the price was low and the food was plentiful. They are a little generous with the heat, but I can appreciate that. On your first visit start with mild and work your way up.
It is a vegetarian’s dream. I got a chuckle out of the menu layout, which is divided into “vegetarian” and “non-vegetarian.” It is one of the few places where I can go totally vegetarian and not miss the meat at all. But if it’s meat you’re looking for, most dishes are lamb, chicken, fish and shrimp, and a few even have goat as an option.
Even though I wasn’t crazy about the vindaloo, I’m already planning a return visit. We were on a mission to find really good Indian food. I’d say mission: accomplished.
Fusion of Flavors
7335 Airport Blvd. H
Mobile, AL 36608