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Bombay Garden in San Rafael Lunch Buffet

Sharuf | Jul 11, 200411:33 AM

Heard good reports about this place, so I made a reconnaisance run.

It's a regular storefront space with a long rectangular room - not the most inspiring architecture. They did a nice classy job of finishing and furnishing it - my compliments to the interior decorator - even so, for ambience I prefer Lotus and India Village.

At $8, the luncheon buffet is a little more expensive than the three other places comprising the local competition. They brag that they offer 25 to 30 things, and indeed they do. I'm not very knowledgable re Indian food, and can't remember most of the names, but here it goes anyway.

I started with soup - a tasty red one which had chunks of a white veg in it which blessedly wasn't potato. Along with that I had a couple of good crunchy pakoras and a couple of deep fried balls of some dough - chickpea flour? They were dry and heavy, and made me wish I'd taken more pakoras instead. Meanwhile a generous basket of naan arrived at the table. The naan was pretty good, but later there appeared on the buffet some puffy bread which they said was "like puri" (my favorite) "but thicker". I was too stuffed to try one at that point.

Now back to that buffet to fill the plate. Here, in order of my favorites, is what I had. Saag paneer - you seldom see saag-anything on these buffets, and I love those green spinachy renditions! There was an interesting mushy-gravy stuff which they said was eggplant-based, and was very tasty. (This was shaping up to be a good place to bring vegetarian friends).

There was a lamb curry-type thing (what a surprise - you NEVER see any meat other than chicken on these buffets!) It was bony and a bit stringy, but very tasty. I took a couple pieces of lamb sausage and passed up the chicken tandoori, which I didn't try in the interest of saving room for more exotic stuff. Running out of real estate on the plate, I squeezed in some chicken curry, which was quite good, even tho I suspected it was how they used up yesterday's tandoori chicken.

BTW, they had two types of rice - a fairly simple white one with peas in it, and a fancier biryani. Along with the bread, these were good support for the gravied offerings.

I proclaim this the best Indian buffet in San Rafael and I'll be back as I still have 20 other things to try!

Bombay Garden
4th at Lootens (a few doors from Marin Joe's)
San Rafael

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