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Indian buffet 'price war' near UC Berkeley

Jonathan King | Jul 16, 200302:03 AM

I noted today (though it may have been true for some days or weeks now - I've been away) that the new Khana Peena outlet on Oxford St., open only six weeks or so I think, has switched to a buffet format. Last I saw they was still trying to sell single entrees plus rice/naan off a steam table for $7 or so, which is too rich for my blood. But now there's a prominent 'Buffet' sign out front (which tall passersby may brush their heads against) and a reasonable tarrif of $5.95 for AYCEat + a soft drink. I tried the buffet today: though not as many dishes are on offer as at nearby Curry in Hurry (my weekly buffet fix before today), they are mostly better prepared, with more varied, complex, and rounder spicing and saucing. Plus it has three, count 'em three chutneys available, in addition to a pickle of some kind. (That's more than I ever saw on the buffet at the flagship Khana Peena on Solano when I used to eat there a year or so ago.) I assume they've been driven to this approach by the failure of their a la carte dreams, as well as pricing pressure from Curry in Hurry. I noted also that Kamal Palace a half block south of Khana Peena has also lowered its buffet rate recently .... though they couldn't lower it enough to get me in there.

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