Last week I had several appointments with club seat holders in Tulsa, but nobody scheduled for lunch. I didn’t realize that until 2 days before, so I asked my friend Shawn if he wanted to meet up. We hadn’t seen each other for a while, so he agreed. I went back to my trusty list that suiteholder Bryan had sent me, and came across India Palace. I love Indian food, and Bryan said it was really good; that was enough for me. I sent him a couple other thoughts too, but since I had already been to the others and Shawn said he would try anything once, India Palace it was.
It’s located in the corner of a strip mall, a very unassuming place. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would never find it. When I arrived, Shawn said he realized he had actually been there once before and liked it. But he had also gone there right before a workout, so he wasn’t really adventurous. Probably a smart thing right before hitting the gym.
The restaurant is very warm and inviting, with beautiful artwork on the walls. All of the staff are Indian, and a few have pretty strong accents. I’m guessing it’s a family owned and run restaurant. They do buffet for lunch, and then a regular meal for dinner.
It’s kind of weird because there’s a main glass door to enter the building, and then 2 doors into the restaurant. Go straight, and that leads up up a little ramp to where the buffet is. Enter the door on the right, and that leads you to a small waiting area to be seated in the main dining room. But you can go in either door, and it’s an open walk either way. The “buffet room” seats about 50, and it was about half full when we arrived. To the right of there are another 10 or so tables for buffet overflow. The main dining room is on the same level as when you walk into the restaurant, so if you’re going there from the buffet you walk down a couple of steps. It’s got several large family-style tables, as well as regular tables. And a very large bar that takes up almost the entire right wall of the restaurant.
I really like buffets, because you can pick and choose what you want, eat as much or as little of each thing as you want, and you can try a lot of different things. I could never go to a buffet with Mary because she hated them. Refused to go. The buffet here isn’t that large, but they pack a lot in there. It’s in an L shape, and one side is the salad bar and sauces, and the other side is entrees. There’s also a small table on the far wall with desserts.
I started with salad.
The salad was cold, crisp and delicious. The big bowl on the buffet had lettuce, tomato and cucumber. I put what I thought was ranch, then realized it was yogurt sauce. But I liked the yogurt sauce a lot better. It was delicious. The black-eyed-pea salad was very tasty, and served cold. The onions were really flavorful. I asked, and they said they were marinated in tumeric and vinegar. The marinade completely eliminated the bite of the raw onion. I planned to go back for more, but forgot.
Next, the entrees.
I don’t even like lentils, and these were phenomenal. I’m not sure if it was the curry or what, but I could have downed a whole bowl of them. The naan bread was really soft and warm. I would be willing to be it’s homemade as well. So good. The veggie fritters were delicious. I went and got some of the tamarind sauce to dip them in. Tamarind is a pulp that comes from a tree. Yes, I know that sounds kind of gross, but when they make stuff with it, it’s really delicious. Very unique flavor. The tamarind sauce was outstanding with the fritters and the bread. I was not a fan of the creamed spinach. I normally am not, so it was an adventurous pick. I only put a tiny bit on my plate, and only ate one bite of it.
And then the second plate
The chicken curry was excellent. The meat was so tender, and the curry had just a hint of spice. The white rice was kind of a sticky basmati rice, and went really well with the lentils. But the lentils were so good they really didn’t need anything to go with them. I just got the rice so I could taste it. Plus Shawn had done the same lentils over rice and it looked good. The meatballs were just okay. Not a whole lot of flavor. Honestly I thought it was kind of odd they even had them, considering I didn’t taste any Indian spices in there. The biryani was good, but I think it had been sitting for a little while so it didn’t taste as fresh as other items. And I noticed they never had to replenish the pan while we were there, like they did with a lot off the other items. But it did have very good flavor. I didn’t need more fritters, but I saw them put out a brand new steaming hot batch so I couldn’t help myself.
The only items I did not try were the curried vegetables and tomato soup. Again, tomato soup seems like kind of an odd item on an Indian menu.
Shawn got dessert. Mango pudding and rice pudding
Neither one had much flavor. I said to Shawn that maybe they were more to cleanse the palate than actually a flavorful desert. Because after all the spice and flavor of the entrees, you need something cool and a little plain to end the meal. The rice pudding was a little sweeter than the mango.
Will I go back? Shawn wasn’t a huge fan, so he won’t be going back. Me on the other hand, no question. I thought the food was excellent. The service was prompt and efficient, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I was standing in the foyer taking notes before I left, and the manager walked by and made sure I was okay. I told him yes, and also told him how much I enjoyed our meal. I’ll most certainly be back. And, as expected, Bryan hit another home run with his recommendation.