Campus Takeout is a hole in the wall Indian/Pakistani restaurant located at 2207 15th Street, just north of Prospect Park on the opposite side of the street. I’ve walked past it day after day on my way between RPI and my apartment. The place seemed to be reasonably low-priced and strangely unpopulated, so I decided I’d give the relatively sketchy building a try. That was my first mistake. I went in and picked a meal out, then found out that the restaurant required cash. I went with “Sure, I’ll be right back after I get money from an ATM.” That was my other mistake.
After about half an hour, as requested, I came back, paid, and carried a heavy paper bag back to my apartment. I opened it up and immediately noticed a reek of excessive amounts of oil. Half of the smaller bags containing food were soaked through with oil. Wonderful. First things first, I tried the vegetable pakora. Unlike the deliciousness that can be found at Thunder Mountain Curry in the Rensselaer Union McNeil room, these pakora were soaked with oil, strangely rubbery, near tasteless, and mostly consisting of potatoes (which would only explain the rubbery texture if they were incredibly old). Finally, there was a strange aftertaste of spice that didn’t really cancel out the heavy oil.
I next tried the garlic naan. I enjoy garlic (most people do), fennel seed, and cloves in many dishes, but this was too much. And it’s inappropriate to go too far in the case of cloves. The bread itself was almost as oily as the pakora, with a bit of a tough texture, especially for naan. However, out of the dishes that I got, this was the best.
My main dish was lamb qorma. The lamb was near tasteless and the curry itself might as well have been a bowl of pure vegetable oil. The lamb bones ranged from distracting to surprising, in the bad sense of surprise. But there was something stranger about the qorma. At one point while I was eating the curry, I nearly choked on a 2 inch by 1/2 inch, 1/16th inch thick, triangular piece of a strange-looking bone shard. This offending shard was also entirely tasteless.
There was an unexpected component to the stuff in the bag. A large box of rice with a pile of hamburger toppings—lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle—was the best thing I’d had to eat that meal.
Overall, Campus Takeout left a lot to be desired. The price for a meal was okay; one could possibly get a complete meal for as low as $8. The service was to the point and yet inoffensive. Only accepting cash is a little weird, but forgivable. But all of the food besides the rice was much more oily than it needed to be. And the qorma was worst of all. I probably wouldn’t recommend this place unless you’re really looking for the cheapest Indian food in Troy. And even then, I think I would suggest going to Thunder Mountain Curry instead. Based on what I got, if someone was going to go here, I might suggest an assortment of appetizers. Though I don’t know what their seafood, beef, or chicken is like. I mean, Troy has four other places at which one can actually find good Indian and/or Pakistani food, three of which are also on 15th Street (Ali Baba’s, Thunder Mountain Curry, and XV Convenience), and then there’s Shalimar in downtown Troy. All four of these are preferable to Campus Takeout, despite being more expensive. If you do want to stop by, though, make sure to call in advance and bring cash. Campus Takeout can be reached at (518) 833-0727. You can even have them cater for your party, if that is what you really want.