Just to warn, this is a long sort of post.
There's a great Indian lunch buffet on 9th Ave. Finally got the specific name and address: Bombay Kitchen 789 Ninth Ave b. 52nd and 53rd. (Specific address is important, there's another Indian place right next door I think). They must have picked up new ownership, just remembered the place as so-so before. Now, for $6.25, you have a choice of three or four dishes. Totally in love with the cooking - I'm reminded of the recent posts about "comfort food" - this is definitely Indian comfort food, nothing too exotic, but fresh and really made with care. For example, they solve the naan problem (too often elsewhere naan means big, cold and dense) by giving you a half-naan with the meal, and you get it after you've taken your first dish so it's piping hot.
I was glad to find this place - I've been really disappointed lately with Little India on Lex - I've just seen too many unsanitary-type warnings at Curry In A Hurry (and I'm very tolerant), and also find their portions meagre (it's not a greed issue, it's also a taste issue - if you are stuck with a huge plate of rice and not enough of a main dish to make it go down, it's a less enjoyable meal). I just don't get the hype about this place. I also tried, in the immediate area, New Kasturi Pavilion, and the Pakistani place across from Curry In A Hurry - the food at both struck me as very harsh - I don't mean in a hot spicy way, more that it was very acidic and the spices lacked subtlety. Still, not terrible.
Hey also check out my recent posting of random finds - it includes a pizza place nearby on 9th.