Indian food has always led a curious double life as far as Asian cuisines are concerned. Chinese is ubiquitous with little white take-out boxes and a sodium knock-out to accompany your late night movies or work binges. Japanese cuisine rarely suffers anything more common than a kitschy bento box at even the lowest tier of this middle-class dining style. Thai holds a respectable middle ground with the occasional entrant in fine dining, but Indian always seems to find itself split between cheap buffets or sit-down locations with elegant waiters and large price tags to justify them.
Gaylord Indian Restaurant lives something of a double life. For evenings, it can be found hosting couples or formal-looking groups around presentation appetizers and artistic desserts. But by day, the lunch hour runs at a slightly faster pace, and the restaurant transforms into a buffet of select dishes in addition to the regular menu.
A tall mango lassi can be had for $4, and goes well with just about anything on the menu. Tradtional favorites abound, vindaloo chicken for $19, tika masala for $15, or aloo bengan for $11. Adventuresome eaters can try the lamb kadai ($17), with pieces of crystallized ginger providing a unique crunch and pockets of intense flavor to compliment the rich meat.
A series of king, queen, and veggie set meals are available for the hearty eater. The veggie – with roughly seven items included in the meal for $18 – will make even a meat-eater proclaim themselves full, and that's the smallest of the lot. Even with that warning, few will probably be able to resist a sweet milky dessert of ras malai, or the orange basundi with a touch of Grand Marnier.
Lunch diners take note – you should stick to the buffet if only to avoid the sheer gluttony that the full menu can induce in otherwise perfectly rational eaters.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge