Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rochester: India Garden

India Garden is always one of our favorite restaurants in Rochester to go to, and ranks high in terms of top restaurants in Rochester. It has won numerous accolades over the years, being named Rochester's best Indian or best Asian/other.

You may find some who try to claim that India Garden isn't authentic Indian. This is something that always irks me, as India is a country of many cuisines and ways of cooking their food. Trying to claim that India Garden isn't true Indian is like trying to claim that your favorite American restaurant doesn't serve true American food. You may have some basis for your opinion--i.e., it's not the same as another Indian restaurant you've frequented, or it's not the type of food that your (__fill in the blanks__) who is from India thinks of as Indian or that they would cook at home. Again, those same arguments can be said for American. So, if growing up in the Midwest of the country, any food that I am not used to then cannot possibly be American. Using that argument, anything that is southern American is not true American. Anything crab or lobster--not true American. Anything made with fresh ocean fish therefore also wouldn't be American. BBQ--not American. See how silly that sounds? Anyone who tries to tell you that India Garden is not authentic Indian food 1) doesn't know about world cuisines, or 2) has an ulterior motive.

So, what will you find at India Garden? You will find things like samosas, pakora, beef curry, tandoori chicken, naan, Bombay potatoes, rice pudding, mint chutney, mango custard, and more. At noon, they have a lunch buffet, and then the restaurant closes for the afternoon before re-opening for a sit down dinner. As far as the number of dishes for the buffet lunch, there is sure to be something for you, with the first aspect that you come to being the salad bar with your lettuce, rice pudding, mango custard, and the various chutneys (including tamarind and mint chutneys). The rest of the buffet features 12 different items which vary somewhat, but you will find vegetarian, beef, and chicken dishes, as well as naan on the end.

We try to get to India Garden a couple of times a year, and have been there right at opening. The most recent time we were there, we arrived about 11:15, 15 minutes after they were due to open, and we arrived right behind another couple. At this time, not everything was out on the buffet yet, including no rice and no naan. It took them about ten minutes longer to finish getting the rest of the items out onto the buffet line. This can be taken for them not being prepared--or you can view it as the items aren't placed out on the buffet until they need to be--making sure that the food is hot and fresh. And when the naan was finished, the hostess did bring it around to the tables offering it to those who had already gone through the line.

Service at India Garden is always very prompt, and they are quick to clear used plates from tables and to fill up your water glass. While I have never seen India Garden completely full, they are busy for lunch buffet. On the most recent trip, there were seven tables being used at the same time, so even if you go and find yourself as the first ones there, chances are, it's not going to stay that way.

The dining at India Garden is very casual, especially for the lunch buffets. In fact, when you're done eating, you go up to the front desk to pay before you receive your check, and they will have it ready for you there.

The quality of the food as well as the friendly service are reasons why this restaurant is always a favorite.

India Garden on Urbanspoon

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