Operating for years as Flavor Indian Cuisine in downtown Brookings, Flavor Indian & Asian Fare opened in its much larger (and prime) location on Main Avenue across from the post office and Nick’s Burgers.
The corner spot was formerly home to Sioux River Bicycles & Fitness, and seeing the transformation into an eatery was impressive. The gorgeous flooring mix of wood and tile, a plethora of light fixtures (including a chandelier), an accent wall with wallpaper, hanging rugs, and a special couch on-theme that patrons will fight over – owner Dan Huntington did an excellent job creating an experience.
The front of the menu explained the original founder of the Flavor name was from Gujarat, India, and through a quick Google I found out Huntington (who is a “chef by trade”) attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. Both facts were very promising for what was ahead for my co-worker and me.
As you could guess from the restaurant’s rebrand, the extensive menu offers a fusion of Indian and Asian items to “travel the culinary world.”
First stop on our journey was the Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles). This entailed stir-fried wide rice noodles with garlic, onion, and tomatoes in a sauce featuring sweet soy sauce and sriracha and was topped with Thai basil. This typically comes spicy (or as spicy as you would like), so we went with a milder version.
Self-considered noodle connoisseurs, we both were loving the wide, soft noodles. The onions were thin and long, which always intimidates me. Sometimes when they’re larger, they tend to overwhelm the dish and make it hard to actually get around. These were crispy in the best way and didn’t have overpowering flavors. I actually ate a couple bites of the onion alone. The tomatoes were incredibly fresh, and added a whole new mix to a bite.
Before we could continue to inhale the Drunken Noodles, Korma Curry arrived. This British Indian curry starts with a vegetable-based broth featuring onions and ginger. Ground almonds, coconut, and cream are added to create a sweet and savory, mild curry served with jasmine rice. Huntington explained this version is served with beef, which is not typical.
“It’s not traditionally served with beef,” he continued, “but… we’re in South Dakota and people love beef.”
He was right. After my tablemate’s first bite, she couldn’t hold it in.
“Dude, dude, dude,” she said, pointing down to the dish we were sharing.
I dove on in. It was so creamy. I’m actually salivating while thinking of it again and getting really sad I can’t have it delivered* to me at this moment. The best part was the crunchy surprise of cumin seeds in the rice.
And guess the best part? They have a fried rice section with unique twists on the Asian favorite. We tried Kimchi Fried Rice, which was stir-fried rice with kimchi and Asian sausage, topped with a soft egg and scallions.
It’s always a favorite part of a meal when you can cut into an egg over an entree and watch it ooze into it. Or maybe that’s just me. Kimchi lovers should not miss out on this.
For our finale, we had one of the cold tea options, the Thai Cold Tea. This is a traditional, sweet and creamy drink made in-house. The presentation was very eye-catching with the orange base having cascading, creamy sides you could mix in with a long spoon. After all of that food, this was the way to go for dessert or after drink-wise.
With views of downtown Brookings, the beautiful interior, and the extensive menu that makes me want to come back for me, this definitely adds to the list of my favorite South Dakota restaurants. Seating is limited, as this is popular, so reservations are recommended.
Connected to Flavor
Connected to Flavor is the owner’s International Grocery Store that has Indian, Korean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and African items. Open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (with fresh vegetables on Tuesdays), Huntington said there was a void for ethnic items in Brookings. “Being a college town,” he said, “we have a lot of international students who are foodies and sometimes would struggle finding ingredients for recipes.”
Flavor definitely succeeded and put thought into the vibe of the restaurant. I will admit I took several Instagrams of the space, and especially of the tile. And how cool is it to be able to finish eating and walk into an international grocery store with hard-to-find food and drinks? You could make a whole evening of it.
These prices are so reasonable. Gazing at the options, meals averaged around $13 plus tax. If you’re just looking for an appetizers, they range from $3-$8. That’s super cheap.
You know it’s good food when you have taste flashbacks. I’ll never forget biting into the Drunken Noodles, which I already loved, and getting a fresh tomato with all of the flavors. Also, that creamy Korma… We shall see each other again.
Rating Scale: Ambiance ++++ | Average Price Per Meal: $—$10 & under; $$—$20 & under; $$$—$30 & under; $$$$—over $30 | Taste ++++
It's the Facts
Flavor is open Tuesday through Saturday 4-8 p.m.
The restaurant uses a lot of ingredients for dishes from their grocery store (see side bar).
In Brookings? Take-out and delivery* are available.