Although India Garden has been Rochester’s mainstay (and delicious!) Indian restaurant for many years, we have plenty of culinary talent in our fair city — and enough Indian food aficionados to support more than one restaurant.
That’s why I was delighted to hear the former India Curry House location has new life again, this time as Royal Indian Cuisine (1647 S. Broadway). The restaurant features a large dining room and plenty of options on the menu.
If it’s your first time trying this place or trying Indian food, I recommend coming for the lunch buffet, which is served only on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This way, you can get a sampling of many dishes, such as lamb saag, chicken vindaloo, palak paneer and goat curry. They have seven varieties of naan bread on the menu, too, including peshawuri naan and cheese naan.
If you’re ordering a meal off the menu, try the vegetable samosa or the mulgatani soup for a starter. If you’re looking to veer off the well-worn chicken curry path like I was, be sure to check out the Mango Korma, a specialty of the house. There are four varieties, including chicken, lamb, shrimp or vegetable. The dish is cooked with onion, garlic, ginger, mango and spices, along with a dash of cashew nut paste and cream.
The Royal special biryani is another great choice if you can’t make up your mind — it combines basmati rice with spices and nuts, then incorporates chicken, lamb, vegetables and shrimp with dried fruit and nuts.
Save some room to savor kheer for dessert, or at the very least a masala chai.
Royal Indian Cuisine is open weekdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cast your culinary vote
It’s November, which means it’s time to do your civic duty (and I hope you did, on Tuesday!) Now, it’s time to turn your attention to more delicious decisions and do your foodie duty (snort).
Rochester Magazine’s annual Best Restaurants issue comes out in February, and ballots are being collected. The online or in-magazine docket is open from now until the end of November, and though the magazine doesn’t claim statistical validity of the results, they do ask (pretty please) that you vote just once so we have results that truly reflect the electorate.
Check out the November issue of Rochester Magazine on newsstands now for the ballot, or just go to RochesterMagazine.com and click on ‘Best Restaurants Ballot.”
They adjust the categories slightly each year (this year’s has a “best brewery” category), but many are the same as previous years — best burger, best breakfast, best bartender, best local chef, and of course, the Big Two: best new restaurant and the overall best restaurant in Rochester.
Best new restaurant is going to be tough; 2015 was a completely bonkers year for amazing restaurants opening — Terza and La Vetta, Grand Rounds, Five West, Forager, Aboba’s, Casablanca, Crooked Pint, Dickey’s and that is just to name a few.
As for the other categories, I have one favor to ask: Give it some deep thought before filling in that answer. Consider the best meal you’ve had all year. Remember the service at that little out-of-the-way place. Recall how that chef put together the perfect combination of flavors. As I read through the ballot, my first impulse was usually not my final answer. We tend to vote the way we voted last year, but Rochester’s changing too fast for us to get stuck in a rut.
Lobster and steak for days
One final tip for November: Don’t let it pass by without getting out to the historic Hubbell House in historic Mantorville for the historic (well, 14th annual) Steak and Lobster event. All month, you can get a 6-oz. tenderloin steak and two 3-oz Canadian cold water lobster tails, along with choice of potato of vegetable, soup, salad, herring or fruit cup, a loaf of bread and the famous (and probably historic) Hubbell House garlic toast.
This gigantic feast is on offer for $32.99 on Fridays and Saturdays. To make this amazing deal even better, stop by Sunday through Thursday and get the same meal for just $29.99.