Bollywood (Grill, can they PLEASE drop the grill part?) is located in a converted 50' style diner complete with vinyl booths and chrome exterior. The South Indian owner, Reddy, owned Viceroy in Berkeley, CA but judging by the reviews, that's not something to brag about.
I wanted to like this place and there are things to like for sure but not enough to sustain my business at this point. First of all, they've done the best they can to convert the diner decor to an ode to Bollywood complete with framed Bollywood star photos on the walls, round shimmery tiny mirror tiles on the black ceiling to resemble "stars", casting director themed bathrooms, a flat screen television screening Bollywood awards shows and films. Tacky, to be sure, but almost fun in a David Lynch-ian way.
But...the food. We started with daal and when I asked for daal, the waiter gave me a funny look like "hey, you're not supposed to ask for that!". You see, everything here is simplified on the menu so if you're looking for daal, ask for lentil soup. What you'll receive resembles a very watery and loose interpretation of daal. I wasn't feeling it. Nor was I feeling seeing things like caesar salad on the menu.
My boyfriend ordered Chicken Korma and I had trout masala. The trout was quite good, the masala almost tasteless. My boyfriend's korma was better than we've had at other Indian restaurants (Mantra PUTRID Masala - I HATE THAT PLACE) but it still wasn't quite up to par. And we had the mandatory naan, rice and sag paneer. I found the sag paneer a tad too greasy though the cheese had a nice consistency. The madras coffee tasted like instant Nescafe coffee made with milk the Mexican way.
Everything at Bollywood (I refuse to say Grill as it cheapens the name somehow) comes a la carte so prepare for a doozy of a bill. Our total was $65 without alcohol. Though $65 would have been perfectly acceptable for a decent Indian meal. Unfortunately, this was not so hot.
One note: there are a variety of Indian sweets/snacks at the counter and of course, even after our lackluster meal, I could not resist purchasing a small pink box of them. I have to say they were pretty good - the textures, colors and tastes were all spot on. But my suspicion is these are NOT made in-house. They're probably purchased down the street at New India Market for a fraction of the price and then sold here. The display is fairly impressive and extensive (everything from rasmalai to gulab jamon to jalaby).
$7.99 for a pound of sweets.
In all, I'd go back if I was in desperate need of something resembling Indian and didn't feel like trekking out to Sai India Curry. But not anytime soon, you know?
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