Zach B., Yale University
In New Haven, Indian restaurants abound, offering lunch buffets and dinner specials attempting to entice Yale students and city residents. At first glance, these restaurants seem interchangeable, none distinguished from the others. A few blocks off Yale’s campus near Chapel and Howe St., restaurants cluster, trying to attract attention and customers. Around this area, I noticed that one restaurant, India Palace, offers an all you can eat lunch buffet for ten dollars, so I decided to check it out.
As I approached the buffet, I noticed that the restaurant with a capacity for around sixty to seventy patrons had exactly five people dining in it at 12:30, the height of the lunch rush. A bit discouraged, I peered into the dishes under the glass buffet hood and met the delicious smell of Indian spices; I decided to try half of the offerings.
First, I tried Paneer Makhani: peas and Paneer cheese cooked in a cream sauce and spices. The paneer had a tender, pliable consistency, and complimented the creamy curry sauce well. However, when I moved on to the Alu Palak, I was sorely disappointed with the creamed spinach and potatoes. India Palace’s Alu Palak was bland and wholly unremarkable in every way.
The Chicken Biryani was flawed as well. Although the heavy sauce had the right amount of spice, the chicken itself was dry and tough. Fortunately though, the lamb dish, Rogan Josh made up for the chicken failure. The lamb tenderly melted in my mouth, and the aromatic curry sauce enveloped me in a warm blanket of spices.
Feeling full, I went back to try the Kheer, a boiled rice dessert made with milk and flavored with cardamom and rosewater. I was pleasantly surprised with this cool and refreshing dessert, a fitting end for a spicy meal. Even though items on the buffet did not excite or provoke (all of these items make up the generic Indian restaurant stock of recipes), lunch proves to be a good value at India Palace, serving a wide and changing variety of solidly executed buffet options.
Having experienced lunch, I went to dinner for comparison. I ordered the vegetable samosas first. With the first bite, I tasted every samosa I have ever eaten, blended together into a dense and boring potato filling. The mediocre pastry shell was crispy, but also a bit too dense for an appetizer.
Then, I decided on the Tandoori Chicken, comparing it to the Chicken Biryani of the lunch buffet. Unlike the Chicken Biryani, this chicken dish burst with moisture. With the distinctly smokey and tangy tandoor flavor, the tender chicken was good enough to take back to the dorm for leftovers.
Dinner cost around twenty dollars, to lunch’s ten dollar price tag. With dishes coming out hit and miss, the ten dollar all-you-can-eat lunch deal seems the logical choice. Overall, the variety and solid freshness of the lunch buffet makes it a good deal for the hungry college student looking for all they can eat.
65 Howe Street
New Haven, CT 06511