Monday, May 2, 2011

Buffet Lunch At The Local Indian Joints

Tiny bits, many dishes
The buffet lunch has become a standard at Indian restaurants around Howard County -- popular both for a weekend grab or a weekend leisure.

I have done a few over the years, but I'm far from an expert.  Most recently, I loved the Royal Taj buffet in Columbia with David.  Hands down, this beats the Indian buffets near my office that bored me years ago by offering just a handful of options.

Royal Taj fills two tables with food, and it has unusual options, particularly a chef making dosas on the line.  Those crepes wrap around spiced potatoes, and they're served up with other crisp treats like pakoras that Royal Taj replaces in small batches so that they don't go limp.  You can get several curries.  You can get tea ("chai").  At any buffet, you should sample everything that looks good so that you can explore more of the menu when you could back for dinner.

Fans say Royal Taj competes even in the strong field of local Indian.  I have enjoyed the buffet since this place opened two years ago under a different name, although I still haven't been there for the regular menu.

At a minimum, I think you can get a buffet at Royal Taj, House of India, Akbar, Mango Grove, Mirchi Wok, and the new Flavors of India -- all in Columbia.  You need to watch out.  People have critiqued some buffets as bland.  You can also end up with naan that gets soggy or rice that gets cold.

Anyone have a favorite lunch buffet?  Any local places have something unique?  Do they rotate so that certain days have special food?  Anyone have advice for people trying them?  I plan on two plates, so I always start with a tiny bit of many dishes.  I have also asked for naan when the display was empty and always found people happy to deliver it to me.

8 comments:

David G. said...

I've been talking up this place ever since that lunch. Here's the only way I can review it: I was never excited about eating Indian food before my first visit to The Royal Taj. Now? Now I'm always gonna be up for it...

HowICook said...

The last couple of times I've been to the Royal Taj lunch buffet, they have had a dish called kadhi pakora. The dish has pakora, fried bean dough crunchy with spices, in a yogurt sauce, sort of a Indian savory bread pudding. It's hands down the best buffet dish I've ever had. I've been trying to duplicate it at home with some success but I can't quite get the sauce flavor right.

Eileen said...

Royal taj is hands down my absolute favorite. I want to go there every day. Today we went to a different one in Laurel, and I wasn't nearly as impressed. The dosai, and chai make it worth the extra couple of bucks. Darnit...now I want to go to Royal Taj again!

Dianne said...

A group from my office regularly travel from Linthicum to Columbia for an Indian Buffet. We tried them all but once we got to Royal Taj, we never went back to the others. In fact, we are going there on Monday to celebrate my son's return from college.

My coworkers all love the kadhi pakora although its not quite my favorite. Once (and only once) we went and one offering was Chili Chicken. It was the bomb! Everytime we go back I hope they have it but as yet, no. Perhaps Monday!

Anonymous said...

Royal Taj is the best! I used to go to Mango Grove but not anymore. My coworker had never had Indian food and I took her to Royal Taj for her first time. Now she can't get enough of the place!

Tamara said...

Royal Taj is simply the BEST! I wish they would have the ginger fish dish on the buffet again. It's my fave go to for Indian other than Woodlands in Montgomery County for a wonderful all Veg. Buffet!

Jonathan said...

I just went there today for the lunch buffet, and it was amazing. I was curious to see if anyone could identify one of their desserts for me, though. It was a sweet orange dish, and my family and I thought it looked like it had rice and/or shredded sweet potato. If my memory serves me right, the sign next to it said "rasmalai", but when I did a google image search, none of the results really looked like what we ate. Hopefully I can figure this out, because it tasted incredible and I'd love to eat it again.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan try googling Gulam Jamun