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Passage to India? - More Like Passage to Tasty Buffet in Mountain View

katya | Jun 29, 200406:30 PM

In my ongoing quest to try Indian lunch buffets, I did something a little different recently… I went for dinner. Mountain View’s Passage to India offers a huge dinner buffet for $12.99. I haven’t decided yet if the price is worth it, but the food is quite good, there are a lot of interesting and hard to find dishes, and the spread is the largest I’ve seen. (We debated whether Priya’s spread is bigger and I think Passage to India’s wins by a pea – a fenugreek-seasoned pea.) Naan was brought in baskets to the table, and the service was outstanding – dirty dishes were magically spirited away every time I went back to the buffet. The place was packed (this was Sunday night) with everyone seemingly going to the buffet, so the dishes were frequently refreshed.

Unfortunately, the next morning both my boyfriend and I (and another friend also reported this on a previous visit) could um… feel the after effects of our meal. In fact, a friend suggested I review this on “poophound.” I thought the meal was worth it despite the after effects. Really, I just figure that this is one of the hazards you accept when you agree to eat Indian food. I assume there’s a spice or something I can’t digest.

My greatest thrill was in discovering that they served pav bhaji – a hard to find chaat item that is basically mashed-up potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables served on top of grilled Indian buns (often store bought hamburger buns). At Passage to India, there is a small griddle to grill the buns right at the buffet, and the pav bhaji was good as it always is.

Soft serve mango ice cream was offered as a dessert and was a favorite at our table. Another popular dish was the chicken roll – spiced chicken wrapped up in a thin tortilla-like bread.

Other dishes I tried:
Chicken tikka masala (my beloved CTM was off – the sauce was too sweet and creamy)
Chili chicken (better ordered off the menu at the Priya Chowdown)
Cucumber salad
Chicken curry (the best of the meat dishes; the meat was so tender it fell apart to the touch of a fork)
Fish masala
Platter of freshly roasted okra, eggplant, and potatoes (these Indian seasoned French fries were one of my favorite items)
Garlic chicken (I didn’t like this - the sauce was too vinegary or something)
Aloo matter (good standard potato and pea dish)
Benegan barta (pureed eggplant)
A potato/mixed vegetable cake/bread (quite tasty)
Watermelon (this was by a sign that read “assorted fruit,” but there was only watermelon)
Raita (not that good; almost bitter)
Tiny pieces of cake

Other dishes I didn’t have a chance to try:
Chop Suez (sic) (apparently Passage is known also for their Indian-Chinese preparations, but chop suey (they have 2 different kinds) doesn’t interest me)
Chicken soup
Veg. Corn soup
Vegetarian fried rice
Tandoori chicken
Dal turka
Saag paneer
Mixed vegetable masala
Rogan josh
Idli sambar

Overall, it’s hard to decide if Passage to India supplants Priya (my previous favorite Indian buffet located in Berkeley). Overall, the food at Passage was better – especially compared to my last couple of Priya visits. However, the cost is sort of prohibitive. Also, in terms of “after effects” it’s pretty much the same. So, it’s a push.

1) Passage to India (Mtn View)/Priya (Berkeley)
2) Mehak (Berkeley)
3) Sargam (Walnut Creek)

Buffet Schedule:
$10.95 - Monday through Friday - 11:30am - 2:30pm
$12.95 - Saturday and Sunday Includes PANI, PURI, PAPRI CHAT, BHEL PURI - 11:30pm - 3:00pm
$12.95 - Friday through Sunday - 6:00pm - 10pm

Passage to India
1991 W. El Camino Real
Mountain View

Link: http://www.passagetoindia.net

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