“This is the longest Indian buffet line I’ve ever waited in,” a dining companion of mine pointedly remarked last Sunday in a nice, white-tableclothed establishment. I answered bluntly — with a stomach growl — as my tongue was tied by aromas of curry spices and bitter and gingery mixed pickle combining with smoky whiffs from what might be the best tandoori chicken in town. Fortunately, that lengthy queue moved along quickly, and within minutes — and for only 10 bucks — we were enjoying one of the top Indian buffets around at Aab India Restaurant in Grandview.
I’d been to Aab several times — I reviewed it when it opened. But after having a discussion with a local food luminary who told me she liked Aab’s lunchtime buffet, I decided to try it again. While there is a notorious propensity to go heavy on the cream, Aab’s generous spread is full of fresh and forceful things more carefully prepared than what you generally get. In short, it’s one of the best midday meal deals in the area. Here’s a sampling.
• Tandoori Chicken Flaunting terrific char-grilled flavors and seared to perfectly tender and juicy, it receives extra interest from strands of cooked peppers and onions.
• Veggie Pakoras Think Indian hush puppies. With a relatively ungreasy, craggy batter flecked with cilantro, these fritters were fun to munch on.
• Ajwain Chicken Think Indian chicken cacciatore. Ajwain is a thyme-like spice, and it flavors this relatively lean and stewy, easy-to-love conglomeration made with boneless/skinless chicken meat, tomato sauce, bell peppers and onions.
• Matar Paneer Peas and diced cubes of homemade cheese awash in a sea of heavily creamed and sweet tomato sauce — irresistible, if not for the lactose intolerant
• Chicken Saag More cream and chicken punctuate this intensely rich and nutmeg hit spinach dish.
• Aloo Choli Extra spicy tomato-sauced chickpeas and potatoes made for a hearty and satisfying vegetarian dish.
• Bhatura Big triangular loaves of semi-sweet fried bread, similar to the more-familiar poori
• Mixed Pickle It might seem odd to comment on a condiment, but I love Aab’s fragrant and standout version made with lemon rinds, carrots, hunks of ginger and potent seeds (Note: mixed pickle is a very acquired taste).
Photo by Jodi Miller