As an ardent aficionado of the art of restaurant naming, I appreciate the multi entendre’d Naan Stopp, the extraneous extra p notwithstanding.
It’s whimsical, pun-ish, and instantly communicates that this is an Indian restaurant. It could only be more appropriate if it were a 24-hour cafe. And while the name might convey whimsy, the food is seriously good.
Naan Stopp occupies the small space in the shops of Windermere Village that was originally home to Humbl, the plant-based fast food concept that didn’t quite, um, take root. The structure of the brightly lit room is the same, though it sports new wall coverings and art. The long counter that was part of the fast food concept is still there, even though NS is a full-service restaurant, with, not incidentally, a very attentive staff. And three televisions on the wall behind the counter that were once menu displays now show loops of Bollywood dance extravaganzas.
Ramgopal Atmakuri, the owner, was on hand when I visited and made some suggestions. My companion and I started with an appetizer of Gobi Manchurian, the Indo-Chinese dish with florets of cauliflower coated in a light batter then fried and tossed with a sweet and spicy sauce seasoned with soy, garlic and bits of fresh ginger. There were also chunks of onions and bell peppers and all were nicely presented on a platter with salad greens.
From the list of tandoori entrees we had the salmon and lamb chops. The fish had a wonderfully charred exterior, including well-crisped skin, while the inside stayed moist.
The chops came sizzling and smoking on a cast iron platter and included onions, peppers and a creamy sauce. The bones were wrapped in foil for easy handling while nibbling all of the good stuff.
The Butter Chicken was one of my favorites. It had hunks of tandoor-cooked chicken swimming in a luscious gravy of tomatoes and, of course, lots of butter.
My companion had the Lamb Rogan Josh, which also had a tomatoey gravy but one that was darker from the meat juices. It was seasoned with ginger and had nice bits of onion. Both dishes were served with individual metal pots of basmati rice.
And naturally there was naan. From the list of eight, we sampled the garlic and the cheese naan. The latter was my favorite.
While I was munching on the naan and dipping it into curries, it dawned on me why the Indian bread is never served as an appetizer.
That would be a naan starter.
Naan Stopp is at…
Oh, come on, you had to see that one coming.
Naan Stopp is at 5845 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Windermere (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-347-5487.