Gaylord (678 N. Clark) was one of those places I took for granted when I worked downtown-- my second choice Indian place after Indian Garden, home of slightly frayed decor and a reliable buffet that, I suspected, hadn't changed in ten years.
The downtown Indian Garden is still a meeting place for us dot com refugees, but I hadn't been back to Gaylord since the Nasdaq was fat and happy. Wandering downtown on Sunday with my four year old, I decided to pop in and see if he could be persuaded to eat something besides nan.
The answer to that was no, and that was no surprise. What was a surprise was that the buffet at Gaylord was much more varied and, frankly, better than I remembered it. I didn't have my Chowhat on so I didn't take a lot of notes, but there were little rolled potato fritters (maybe cauliflower and other veg's), a very mustardy yogurt curry that was different from anything I've had before, and some lamb kebabs in a red curry that were all different and pretty good. The standards (peas and cheese etc.) were at the top of their form, too.
I wonder if it's always been a fancier spread on the weekend-- never been there any day besides M-F before-- but in any case, I was newly impressed. And it raises a question-- after a couple of years in which I've zipped up to Devon at least every other week and tried practically every spot along Devon, why are my two favorite Indian restaurants both downtown?* It's like eating in Pilsen for a year and then deciding after all that your favorite Mexican restaurant is still Su Casa-- it doesn't seem right, it seems like I should turn up my nose at Mag Mile curry and hail neighborhood authenticity, but the facts speak for themselves. I'm already wondering when my next chance to try it on the weekend will be.
* I will say that the last time I ate at the Devon Indian Garden, it was a lot better too and comparable to the downtown one.