Diwan’s Manager Opens His Own Indian Buffet
If there is one thing that Midtown is not lacking in, it’s the all you can eat Indian buffet- and while we don’t really have any buffets that are under $10 anymore, there are still enough $11 buffets to make the $15+ buffets not worth it (as far as I’m concerned). So, I never paid much attention to Diwan, the upscale Indian restaurant owned by the same people who own Jackson Diner in Queens- which apparently closed last September (Diwan, not the Jackson Diner- obviously). I am interested, however, in this bit of news: Diwan’s manager of 15 years, has gone on to open his own Indian Restaurant on 52nd btw. Lex+3rd called Bombay Bistro… and their lunchtime buffet is $10.95. So, with the buffet team in tow, I headed over to this newly opened buffet to take it for a test drive.
The one thing that is apparent right away is that new restaurant = nice restaurant. The buffet may cost $11, but the restaurant is as nice as a Midtown Lunch place is going to get… in fact, much nicer. At night it probably looks like a modern upscale bistro from the outside (it used to be the Avon Bistro, so maybe they made no changes?) Most importantly the food is the same quality as the decor.
As you know from my guide to beating the all you can eat buffet… the first plate is always a feeler plate. I took a little bit of everything- and there was a decent amount to sample. Goat curry (always like to see the meat!), saag paneer, some sort of chick pea thing, tandoori chicken, a chicken tikka masala kind of thing, these vegetarian kofta, and fried fritter things (that I’m guessing were made from chickpeas). Everything was very tasty, and some of the major benchmarks were hit- for example, the saag paneer was not watery. They also had a shrimp dish (fancy!).
Another big benchmark: fresh hot naan brought to your table (still glistening from what I can only assume is ghee brushed over it.) The tandoori chicken was a little dry, but it’s hard to fix that on a buffet- and by the time I ate, the goat was slightly picked over, so most of the pieces I got were more bones than meat- something that adds extra flavor, and normally I love- but a little tough to eat when you are trying super hard not to drop food on your two month old kid’s head. I also really liked the vegetarian kofta, which were really tasty as well.
Despite being able to navigate the buffet with my kid strapped to my chest, I wasn’t able to take photos of all the signs on the buffet- or write anything down. So you’ll have to make due with my vague recollections. Just know this… if you’re into all you can eat Indian buffets, and you work on the East side- this one is top notch. It’s wildly out of the ordinary for Midtown Indian food (aside from the shrimp, I guess), but the quality and variety is there (for now) and it is well worth the $11.
Bombay Bistro, 155 E 52nd St (btw. Lex+3rd), 212-593-5425