I love Indian food (dot, not feather). In fact, I'm not sure I have ever had an Indian dish that I didn't like. My favorite day in International Cuisine back in school was Indian Day. But I used to lament that there was no good Indian food in Utah Valley, where I now reside. In fact, I used to complain about the quality of restaurants around here in general. I can't do that anymore.
TuxGirl used to tell me about how great Bombay House in Provo is. In fact, lots of people used to tell me about it. In talking to Art last night, he told me that it's probably the best place to eat in Provo, and that he goes there all the time. I still don't know Art as well as I'd like, but I'm starting to trust his judgement in food. TuxGirl too, for that matter. So last night I decided to check it out.
I used to go to Chile's sometimes. I used to go to Applebees sometimes. Hey, they're both right down the street from me. I don't know that I can ever go to either one again, because they're not Bombay House. This place was awesome. I think the fact that every employee I saw there looked like they were actually from India probably didn't hurt. Every one of them was friendly, though I think they got tired of repeating things to me, with their thick Indian accents. The service was, well, I think efficient is the best word. Fast and efficient.
I ordered Chicken Kurma for myself and Lamb Curry for my wife. Even though I asked for the chicken to be hot (spicy) and the lamb to be medium (my wife is going easy on the spice while she's preggers), we both agreed that the lamb ended up hotter. In my very limited experience in Indian restaurants, the level of spiciness seems to be relative to the dish, not to the restaurant or cuisine as a whole, as in other restaurants. As for the flavor? I took one bite of my Chicken Kurma and I was in heaven. It was spicy, oh so spicy. It just about knocked my on my butt. It was also flavorful, tender and juicy. And it was even a little sweet. It seemed like the perfect medley that no other dish could ever contain, until I tried some of my wife's curry. It was also perfect. It had that rich, deep, yet sweet flavor so consistent with lamb. It was also spicy. It also tried to knock my on my butt.
I also ordered a side of naan, which is a type of Indian flat bread that I love so much. I spent most of the meal dipping it into all of the sauce that my chicken was swimming in, and when it was gone I considered ordering another naan. Both meats were swimming in sauce, in fact. I would pour it on my rice and just go at it. Did I mention the rice? It was some kind of long-grain rice that was fabulous on its own. It had little bits of green in it that I have yet to identify, but were just awesome. When we got full and had to get a to-go box, we made sure to take the rise with us as well.
Despite being full, I knew I wanted dessert. There were two big reasons why I wanted dessert, even though I knew I was too full for it. First of all, Jeffery Steingarten once said that there were only two types of food left that he was still squeemish on: bugs and desserts in Indian restaurants. In It Must Have Been Something I Ate, he talks about how he's gotten over bugs, but not Indian desserts yet. I thought I'd leave bugs to him, and handle the Indian desserts myself.
Secondly, back when I was studying ice cream a lot, I kept running across mention of kulfi, which is an Indian-style ice cream that is frozen without being churned. It's not flavored with things like chocolate or fudge brickle. It's flavored with things like cinnamon and cardamom. I had to try it. And I'm glad I did. It's sweet, very sweet. It was nutty and flavored with, well, I don't know what. I'm going to guess there was rosewater in it. Probably a few Indian spices that I'm not incredibly familiar with... yet. The texture made me wonder if they churned it, even though it's known for not being churned. However they did it, it was awesome. I ate the whole thing.
Like I said, the service was stellar. The waitor stopped by on a regular basis to check on us, and to keep our water glasses full. I was often surprised to look up and see somebody standing at our table, just finishing a question that I had managed to miss. They were to the point, none of this "good evening folks, my name is John and blah blah blah, would you like to hear the specials?" One guy stopped by at one point and simply said, "box?" when it was obvious we weren't going to be able to eat anymore.
I will be going back to the Bombay House again, probably on a somewhat regular basis. In fact, I think it's worth saving up to go once or twice a week. I don't know if I can afford to eat out in general all that often, but if I could I would probably eat there just about every day. Those of you in the area, check it out. Bonus! There's one in Salt Lake too! If you like food, I don't think you'll be disappointed.