Best of India
5815 Charlotte Pike
It’s always hard to judge a restaurant by the buffet line and it seems especially tough at an ethnic restaurant. You wonder if the food is just dumbed down for the cheap eats crowd. Now, we happen to be proud members of the cheap eats crowd, but we also demand good food. And with Indian restaurants in Nashville the buffet line is a major source of competition. If you’re going to do it, you had better do it right. So, with all that in mind we embark to Best of India on the west side. It’s one of those non-descript restaurants wedged into a strip mall next to a Rent-a-Center.
The 12 item buffet is rather modest. On this Sunday it featured chicken dishes on one side and vegetarian items on the other. This is a nice set-up for us, and for many folks out there. Vegetarians usually fare quite well at Indian restaurants. Cucumber salad, fruit, yogurt sauce and Gulab Jamun, which is basically a donut, soaked in honey, rounded out the options.
The Chicken Makhani proved to have a savory flavor and that was a good start to the meal. The white basmati rice was a bit dry, but a passable companion. The Chicken Curry was a disappointment, mild to the point of tastelessness and with overcooked chicken chunks. The Tandoori Chicken fared a little better, but not much. The chicken side of the table was weak at best. So, what did the Veggie Eater find on the other side of the table?
Veggie Eater: This place hit the spot for me. The buffet offered 3 veggie entrees (Eggplant Curry, Curried Veggies and Dal) plus Basmati rice, salad, Nan, Veggie Pakoras for an app and the donuty desserty thing. The Pakoras were wonderful; they were perfectly crisped and the raita was a perfect accompaniment. The Dal was the best of the main courses. The Eggplant Curry had a slightly sweet allspice flavor. The curries were tame, but there was a hot sauce available to spunk it up. I thought it was odd that there were not any chutneys available for the buffet. The staff was attentive. The people watching was interesting. Was it spectacular Indian food? No. However, on a hot Sunday afternoon, it was exactly what I was craving.
Meat Eater: I have to agree that the veggie items were better than any of the chicken dishes. The Dal Makhani was the best food on the line, and the Veggie Pakoras were cooked perfectly. Regulars came in the door, quizzing the owners to see if favorite items were to be had on the buffet that day. It’s obvious they have a local clientele and that’s a good thing. We paid just $18 with tip for two of us, and that may be the big attraction at Best of India. It certainly is not among the best Indian restaurants in Nashville, but it does provide a decent, cheaper, neighborhood meal and sometimes that fits the bill.