Housed in the TraveLodge fronting southbound Hwy. 101, Ive driven by India Palace (707 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley, 415-388-3350) a gazillion times. When a friend mentioned that his Parsi clan holds its reunions here, it was time to check things out.
The unimposing entrance opens into a full bar guarded by a carved wooden elephant plastered with real dollar bills. The small dining room is attractively decorated with rosy tones and floral prints lending a subdued air. The dinner menu prices, with prices ranging from $ 9 for vegetarian entrees to $19 for tandoori mixed grill, average around $13which seems quite reasonable for this white tablecloth setting.
Skipping the many appetizers, I tried the shahi korma that was identified as a house specialty. Braised cubes of tender lamb in a rich creamy sauce topped with sliced almonds and too politely spiced for my taste, I would have preferred more heat. The server suggested the garlic naan as an accompaniment for this dish. This leavened white flour bread was enormous, the size of a serving platter, and shaped like a banana leaf. Stretched thin in the middle and topped with fresh garlic and parsley, the garlic naan was crisp, almost flaky, and added a complementary pungency to the lamb entree. Mango lassi was intense and thickly creamy and I didnt mind that it had a few ice cubes.
The service here is competent and understated. The Punjabi chef is making honest food, albeit toned down for suburban tastes. Not worth a special trip but if youre passing through and prefer milder food, theres easy parking and highway access.