Inexpensive buffets often leave out the restaurant's best efforts, but my four or so lunches at Sapphire (Indian cuisine at 1845 Broadway, between 60th and 61st Street, West side of street) have helped changed my thinking. Here's what was on yesterday's $11.95 (or was it $12.95?) buffet.
Upma - a creamy savory semolina pudding seasoned with almonds and curry leaves with a spicy green sauce on the side.
Tandoori chicken - well-flavored, tender
Dry Chicken Tikka-- individual legs in a very light, tasty slightly crusty coating.
Chicken Tikka Masala (in a tomato sauce)
Lamb Rogan Josh - cubed lamb (lamb was too stew-like for my preference--but it was flavorful.)
Dal - couldn't stop piling it up on my plate. Delicious.
Aloo Matar - potatoes with ginger and tomatoes.
Bhindi Masala - okra--one of my favorite veggies.
Gulab Jamon - sweet pastry balls in a deliciously honey sauce.
On another table were about 8 different Indian pickles, chutneys and sauces, raita, salads. (In the middle of all this, looking like it got lost en route to an American picnic was a mayonnaisey potato salad!) Hot naan with crispy edges--addictive eating--was brought to the table at the start of the meal.
The restaurant is cool and inviting--tables far enough apart and service very solicitous. Non-stop refilling of water, which is a bonus in my book. Okay,not every dish is a 4-star winner. But a few are outstanding and the others very good. They're all cooked with fresh ingredients that have been well-marinated into their sauces. And each has a distinctive and unique flavor. For an $11.95--all-you-can-eat buffet in a lovely setting, it's a office lunch spot I'm happy to have. ('Tho I can't comment on a la carte and dinner.)
A SUGGESTION: Arrive by noon when Sapphire first opens and they are bringing the steaming copper serving kettles to the buffet table. Dishes will be piping hot, attractively laid out--and most important--wonderfully moist, before all that firing-up of heat under the kettles starts to dry out the unsauced dishes; ie, tandoori chicken.
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