I love Indian food; it has the unique property of being familiar and comforting while being foreign and different all at the same time for me. The rice is reminiscing of every meal I had while growing up, while the flavors and spices are very different.
I will admit of the bat that I love Saag Paneer, which is a spinach and Indian cheese dish. It’s about as unadventurous as you can get, like pad thai for Thai food. My Indian friends laughed at me when I was in Bombay two years ago, for ordering saag paneer. I tried many different foods during my trip, but saag was still my favorite.
Here’s a funny story; one evening, while in India, four of us went out to dinner. Now, Chinese food in India is also interesting; it’s reminiscent of bad Polynesian-Chinese food from the 70’s. The thing is, every restaurant serves it, regardless of the type of restaurant. Every menu I looked at had a back page with “Chinese Specialties,” I had 3 different people asked me how to make “Manchurian Chicken,” which is a popular Chinese dish there. I’ve never even heard of it. I think it upset people to find out that people in China aren’t eating “Manchurian Chicken.” Anyways, my three dinner companions (all Indian) decided they felt like Chinese food, whereas I was not going anywhere near the stuff. I had saag (of course). The food arrived and all three of them pick up their forks to eat. I stopped them and insisted that given I had spent the whole week eating with my right hand, that they should be honoring my culture and eating with chopsticks. They laughed and kept eating. Oh well.
Anyways, R and I went to Kabob Factory in Somerville (near Dali’s) for their weekend lunch buffet. The Indian restaurant scene in the Boston is dominated by 2 or 3 Indian families that own 90% of all the restaurants; so as a result, there isn’t that much differentiation among them. Kabob is slightly more upscale and the weekend buffet has a large assortment of interesting items that aren’t on a standard buffet line. I lucked out, as saag paneer was part of the offerings and it was excellent. The roasted garlic soup and the chicken tandoori were also great. There were plenty of meat and vegetarian offerings and hot naan comes with the buffet. It was $12.95 a person and definitely worth it.