Food

Cheap Eats 2011: Bollywood Bistro

Indian cooking is seldom regarded as destination dining–unless it’s the East/West fusion of Rasika or Indique Heights. This cheery Fairfax restaurant manages a rare blend of comfort and sophistication.

The simplest dishes are often superb–a stir-fry of okra reminds you how good that often mishandled vegetable can be. Curries are exemplary for their gravies–so complex that the sometimes overcooked meats seem almost secondary. And there’s little drop-off in flavor when you sample them from the excellent lunch buffet.

The occasional forays into genre-blurring are mixed: A raita that blends tangy yogurt with black olives is unexpectedly exciting, while a guacamole chutney is more interesting than delicious. If you’re caught between possibilities, turn to the helpful staff, who are happy to illuminate everything from the kitchen’s idea of “spicy” to which specials are worth springing for.

Also good: Aam palak chaat with green mango; goat masala; lamb rogan josh; chicken korma; Malabari chicken.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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