The corner of University Avenue and Campus Drive has lured in yet another restaurant - this time in the form of Indian cuisine. Bombay Indian Grill opened on Monday and has had a steady stream of customers ever since, according to the owners.
This restaurant space seems to be cursed. It has previously housed a Pizza Al's and some other short-lived places. So, what gives? Is it an awkward location? Is it parking - despite there being a giant short-term lot directly outside the door? Has there not been a unique enough restaurant to draw people to this area? Is there not enough foot traffic? I don't have the answers. But I wish these folks the best.
Tony and I parked in the short-term lot and luckily got in right before the lunch rush. A sign outside noted a lunch special: $7.99 for two items on the lunch bar with rice. The bar had pans of channa masala, spicy garlic chicken, etc. Behind the counter was the full menu, which features favorites like chicken tikka masala, chicken vindaloo, lamb korma, etc.
At the counter, I ordered chicken tikka masala, as well as an order of vegetable pakora. After paying, we found a seat and waited for our food. I really don't love this kind of seating - like faux booths that make me feel like they're going to tilt and break. Just my neurosis showing here. Otherwise, bright colors on the walls and a bit of odds and ends that need touched up. They've tried to get as much seating in here as they could, which lends itself to odd angles at some points.
The lovely owner brought us out a sample of Mango Lassi, which is this mango yogurt drink - super velvety and smooth. I'm a fan.
Next up, the pakora. Green peppers, cauliflower, potatoes and onions are dipped in this delicious batter and fried until crisp and golden. Think Indian tempura. Fried VEGGIES can't be all that bad, right? I like the batter, and, even though it fell apart a bit, it was tasty. It was served with a tamarind dipping sauce and a coriander chutney. The tamarind is a bit sweeter, while the chutney has a fresher taste.
The naan was good - and plentiful! That's nice. Tony's butter chicken up there was very good, too. Not quite as sweet as mine but very flavorful.
The tikka masala is super creamy and just a hint of sweet. It is delivered in a large bowl, with a small dish of rice - with, I think, the intention of scooping bits from the bowl to the rice and going spoonful at a time. Very good.
When I finished, I went up to get a to-go container (enough for a whole other meal!). And, while there, I got some kheer. I love, love, love rice pudding. I also love gulab jamun, but I was trying to pace myself. It has a nice hint of cinnamon. You can't really go wrong with it, though.
I like this place. I'm not sure we need (or can sustain) a third Indian restaurant in town. And I'm not sure if it blows the other two away. But I do like it. I think I'd have to try a few more dishes to get a better gauge.