The server waxes lyrical about the Indian consultant chef who flew around the world from India to London to Philly to create a custom menu for this Broad Street eatery. How they have carefully chosen spices and so on. Which should be a giveaway, because Tashan is all about pomp and circumstance.
The atmosphere is very cool - dark tables and more reminiscent of Nobu 59th or the amazing Amaya in London. They took the time to make sure we got a drink at the bar, so we wouldn't have a table by the door, which was a nice touch.
The problem with Tashan is really simple - the food is no better than the food you'll get at its downscale sister restaurant, Tiffin.
Some dishes - the vegetable shashlik for example - were well flavored and tasty. Others, like the masala sauced "butter paneer" were too light in the sauce and had an overbearing taste of cardamon. Yet others, like the sag paneer and baingan bharta, were overly flavored with ghee and cream and far too heavy. In all the main courses, paneer was just thrown in, rather than spiced and cooked first in a tandoor as it should be.
Rice was tasteless and the nan - cooked by the taste of it in a genuine Indian tandoor oven - was OK. Everyone felt over-full and bloated the next day.
Service was OK and the free valet parking is a nice touch, but at the end of the day, these guys really need to go and taste good Indian food at places like Amaya in London and pay attention. Indian food can be so much better than this. For $40 a head for food alone, they need to try harder.
As an addendum and the reason why I gave 4 stars rather than 3, to repeat, the atmosphere is really cool, and the Indian food probably is the best I've had so far in Philly. That's just not saying much.