Everyone has an opinion, and they seem so widely divergent when it comes to Indian cuisine. I guess, like so many things, it all depends on personal preference. So, what's your favorite Indian buffet in Baltimore, and, more importantly, why? Although I'm particularly interested in what you thought of buffets in this post, comments about other Indian meals are welcome. Here are my impressions to get things started:
Akbar - A frequent best-of winner, our experience there was appalling. Sauces tasted like they came right out of a can of condensed soup. My dining companion ordered a cheese dessert and pronounced it rancid. Thinking he was exaggerating, I tasted it myself. I'm sorry I did. The management was positively brusque when he complained. Note that this was dinner and not a buffet. I'm interested to know if anyone has had a recent good meal here, and what it was that you liked.
Ambassador - A beautifully appointed dining room in one of Baltimore's lovely historic neighborhoods, but the food was mediocre on my one visit. I can see choosing this place if ambience is more important to you than flavor. Again, this was a lunch experience and not a buffet.
India Rasoi - Another best-of winner, this place is very small; their dining room is about the size of . . . well . . . yours. They seem to have few visitors, but that could be due to the "hey, let's go to Little Italy for . . . Indian" problem. Because there is so little room, the buffet has very few selections. I haven't sampled it, but I have come here for dinner and for takeout. I found the food pleasant but bland. In case you are not sure, that is not a hearty endorsement. Lamb dishes were best, along with the mulligatawny soup, although I prefer more spice.
Mehek - In Fells Point on Broadway near Thames, this is my choice for the true best of Baltimore. A nice selection of dishes with complex sauces, including a few items I have not seen anywhere else. I would like to see lamb on there, but that's a quibble. Their mulligatawny soup is very nice, although I can't help smiling wryly when I see they have tossed in a bit of pasta and labeled it "chicken noodle." The service is attentive and pleasant. Another nice touch: no soggy pile of bread in a sterno-heated tray here; they bring fresh, piping-hot naan to your table as soon as you sit down with your food.
Mem Sahib - The location, right next to Lexington Market, is a bit funky. I tend to eat here only when I am using the metro, as it is a block away. But the buffet is reasonably priced, and the food is above-average. The standout here is the attentive service, and the charming owner makes you feel like a friend. An interesting selection of desserts not found on most buffets, and a pretty good lamb. And let's not forget the Indian music videos on a large screen, if that turns you on. Overall, a very good value.
Mughal Garden - I found this buffet unremarkable in most respects. Not too good, not too bad. A decent value if you happen to be in Mt. Vernon.