Saturday, October 25, 2008

Indian Food, Part II

Bombay Palace

I feel as if I've committed an infidelity...

Bombay Palace is the new kid in town and it certainly gives Sitar a run for its money. First of all, the service is about a million times better. Ron (his Americanized name), the owner, went above and beyond what was expected to make us feel welcome telling us, “this back door is open for you anytime.”

I’d heard great things, but I was still reluctant to pass up a Saturday at Sitar to try this place out. We were not disappointed. Ron immediately introduced himself and brought us some pillowy fresh naan. Then there was an incredibly creamy and complex cauliflower dish, Mark thinks it was called Galoo Jobni...whatever it was, the translation was incredible cauliflower. Among other delights was a delicious cinnamon and curry dal, pakora fritters, chiken tiki masala (also amazing), and tandoori chicken which was unfortunately a bit cold, but still quite nice. Unlike Sitar, they have a separate area for salads, fruit, dessert, and chutneys. Mark really liked their raita, the yogurt hound he is and I, of course, doused all my food in the tamarind sauce. We Americans, the majority of us, like our food covered and smothered in sauce. Tamarind is my ranch dressing, kiddies.

Ron came and introduced himself to thank us for stopping by almost immediately. He made a point of asking for our names and came over a few more times during the meal to get our opinion about it all (not annoying or intrusive in any way...he could tell we were really enthusiastic about finding the place. Lord knows, we like to eat). On our way out, as we came in the back door, we passed through the kitchen and he introduced us to the "chef" Sam. He looked young and sweet-faced. I could insinuate something...but we don't talk like that about Indian cooks who make us like cauliflower regardless of our past hatred of it.

After the lovely first impression we talked some friends into revisiting on the Friday night of the David Sedaris show. Ron, sweetheart that he is, remembered our names.

We all started with soup except for Mark. Logan got this incredibly rich chicken soup, Christin got coconut milk with saffron, and I opted for tomato. I got tastes of all and they were just dandy. As with all the dishes at Bombay, the flavors are really vibrant...Sitar's fare seems, in retrospect, much blander and less fresh tasting. Ron, I guess thinking Mark felt left out, brought him some vegetable fritters.

For entrees:
Christin ordered Lamb Korma. Logan got Sag Paneer (spinach and cheese) with lamb in it. Mark was trying to find that same cauliflower dish from the other day, but settled on another one. I got the chana masala.

As mentioned earlier, the flavors are much more vibrant and multi-dimensional. Also, the presentation was quite nice.

Bombay is near Centennial Park in a strip mall that's proven toxic to lots of restaurants who've made a go of it there. Let's hope Bombay doesn't succumb to that curse. We'd like to continue to be spoiled by having two wonderful Indian eateries to choose from.

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