Darbar Grill is For Indulgent Indian Lunches

The last post tagged “Indian” was in 2013, the last post tagged “Buffet, All You Can Eat” was in 2011, and the last post about Darbar Grill was in 2009. I think that means it’s time for a bit of a refresher…

How much I ate, after the jump!

According to the sign out front, if I wanted to stick to the ML price limit of $10, I’d have to take it to go – the veg option is $8.95 and the non-veg is $9.95. While I was there, I certainly saw plenty of people opting to do exactly that. But I was a woman on a mission – fill the aching void inside me created by skipping lunch and having an incredibly difficult week – so I scoffed that and went inside to meet a friend.

Besides, this is Uptown Lunch, and the only rule we have is that there are no rules.

Please don’t hate me for not trying everything. My first plate was a feeler plate of sorts – cucumbers with raita, a piece of tandoori chicken, marinated tomatoes with onions and peppers (raw), chickpeas, and a pile of pea pulao topped with chicken tikka masala. I’m sorry if I don’t know the proper names for everything. The tandoori chicken was good, if cut into awkward pieces that sometimes had more bone than meat and was hard to eat without picking it up with your fingers. The chicken tikka masala was tender and good, but not amazing – the sauce was a little watery, and lacked oomph or punch. I reminded myself that I could have as MUCH of it as I wanted though, and that cheered me – that’s the name of the game, right?

I don’t really eat much spicy stuff, so when my friend said the corn saag was really spicy I only took a little. Lies! it was actually really good, flavorful, and just the way saag is meant to be (super mushy spinach). I also grabbed more chicken tikka masala, tandoori chicken, rice, cucumbers and raita, and some beets. I tried a piece of the goat curry, which was almost depleted at this point, and found the goat to be super tender, definitely goaty without being gamey – really good, basically. I’m not sure the name – I’m sorry, I don’t know all the names! – of the pile on the right side of my rice, I think it started with an M, but it was also really tasty mixed with the rice or scooped up with the fresh naan they brought us that I failed to photograph.

This is what I saw at the buffet, though I didn’t eat everything: cucumbers, raita, chopped romaine, a bunch of chutneys, beets, chickpeas/onions mixture, cucumber/tomatoes/red peppers mixture, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, goat curry, fish curry, chickepeas in sauce type of dish, pakora with spiced chickpeas in the same container, corn saag, a couple of other vegetarian items, and two types of daal, watermelon, mango pudding, another type of pudding, and some sort of fried dessert.

I know – I failed, eating only two plates (plus a dish of watermelon), but I was super stuffed and thoroughly enjoyed my indulgent lunch. Is it a little over the ML price? Yeah, totally, but this is the kind of lunch you have on a summer Friday afternoon when no one’s even in the office anymore and they’ve just stuck you with the honor of being the person “on call” while everyone else starts their glorious summer weekend early, so you want to treat yourself to a food coma afternoon.

For ~$16 (after tax and tip), this is a great deal and you can stuff yourself silly. The rush seems to be around noon, since we arrived just after 1 and crowds of people were leaving. Some dishes get replenished often (rice, chicken tikka masala, corn saag), while the goat curry wasn’t refilled while we were there (but it also took a while before it was depleted). I recommend this for your indulgent lunch needs!

Darbar Grill, 157 E 55th St (btw. 3rd+Lex), 212-751-4600
(Not to be confused with Darbar on 46th Street)


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