Most of the Indian restaurants that I visit are okay, alright, nothing great. You can get some okay food when you are lacking time and it doesn’t matter much. The Philly area is one of the most wanting in good Indian restaurants. My ratings of course are biased because I know what great Indian cooking is. I prefer to eat my wife’s cooking all the time except that she doesn’t – makes sense if you have to cook and don’t get a break 🙂 She is an exceptional cook and can beat 5-star chefs handily down when it comes to nutrition and taste and variety.
Anyway, now for the recent restaurant I visited in Salt Lake City, UT. This is Bombay House. This specific location was the one on E. Parley’s way. The place blew me away. The restaurant itself is huge compared to other focus-on-only-food kind of Indian restaurants. The place is more like a log cabin atmosphere, apt given it is at the foothills of the spectacular mountains of SLC. There are booths – yes, booths in an Indian restaurant is rare. Lighting is cozy and mellow. I sat in one of the two seater tables. The tables are all heavy polished oak. There was a fireplace I remember. The walls are decked with Punjabi paintings depicting middle-period dancers in skirts and blouses. The place is run by a team (family?) of Punjabis all sporting their turbans and very warm and hospitable. The place is crowded, much like a Chili’s. You may have to wait if you don’t have a reservation. There is a separate seating area which I found pretty inviting (for waiting).
I am not a big eater. I started with the Saag Shorbha. This is a creamy soup made out of spinach,lentils, a tinge of garlic. What made this soup apart is the little tartness to it. This is the second place I had great spinach soup – the other is at the now closed ‘Indian Affair’ on Main street in Manayunk, PA. You get a decent sized cup of the soup.
My main entree was Vegetable curry which was very delicious. It was a bit creamier than I would like for regular healthy eating, but once in a while it should be very enjoyable.
For bread, I ordered a Aloo-parata. Now, when it comes to aloo-parata, 98% of the Indian restaurants dish out very poor stuff. When we lived near LA, we used to go to a Indian restaurant – smallish, hall-like place run by a old-timer punjabi who wanted to provide good food for less for the students near the university in Pico – I don’t exactly remember the address now. The aloo parata was two dollars (yes in 2000) and it was the BEST I have ever had. One parata with the pickles you get and a small dish of yogurt was all I needed for dinner. It was soo good! The aloo-parata at Bombay House came very close to it. It reflected the oil all over it – I guess the chef smears the parata with oil to add to the flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The other AP I enjoyed thoroughly was made by Harish’s mother and one by Mrs. Singh, who was in the same community as us. These home made paratas are so much healthier if you eat it once in a while (of course, Potatoes are potatoes when it comes to health).
I had a salt lassi, which was excellent. The waiter made sure I liked it before he left. Sometime the salt is much more than what is acceptable (for me) and I liked the fact he waited.
Prices were reasonable (I was travelling on business) – $25 for my dinner. I would definitely go back to this place again and again. At this point, this is one of the top 5 Indian restaurants for me in the whole of US (wherever I have been).