For some time now I've decried the quality of the many indian buffets in West Philly, particularly near the Penn campus. Last night as I happened to be walking down 40th from Chestnut, I passed the Tandori Indian Rest., and noticed that it smelled great. I ate there today for lunch and was not disappointed. Unlike most indian buffets I've tried, everything tasted fresh and carefully prepared. Particular hilights were: the channa masala, saag paneer, raita, and the mixed pickles. The channa masala was pleasantly hot, and the chickpeas were tender and creamy, without a hint of the toughness that one often runs into. The saag paneer was great! I love this dish, but am often disappointed because restaurants use frozen or canned spinach. This was clearly made with fresh spinach, and was bursting with flavor. The raita was made with homemade yogurt. Rich, creamy, salty, sour, a little sweet. What a delight. Finally, and most importantly, the pickle was handmade. I love hot mixed pickles, but, as with many things, am totally disappointed when they come from a can and taste, for lack of a better description, like industrial cleaning solvents. These were hot and sour, but given those strong flavors, each item in the mixture retained its individuality--the orange peel tasted like orange peel, the peppers like peppers, the garlic like garlic, etc. The other dishes ranged from ok to quite good, only the tandori chicken being really uninteresting, and I generally don't like tandori chicken on a buffet anyway--it has a tendency to be dry and unpalatable.
Of course, I totally overate, and am now finding it difficult to accomplish anything. Ah well.