If you’re looking for good Indian food (and, really, who isn’t in Tarrant County?) Bombay Palace in south Arlington may just hit the spot.
Owner Raj Singh’s first foray into the restaurant business started off shakily when he opened three months ago in a spot along busy South Cooper Street — the original chef is no longer cooking in the kitchen — but the dishes that we tried on a recent visit were from an assured hand, nevertheless.
The Northern Indian cuisine — alas, you won’t find any burrito-like dosas on the menu here — runs the gamut from crispy veggie pakora fritters to a perfectly agreeable chicken tikka masala, a compendium of standby dishes that you might find at any rival restaurant. The difference? Singh and his crew cook a few “Indo Chinese” dishes as well. Szechuan chicken and shrimp noodles are on the menu ($8.99-$10.99) and show versatility, not to mention offer something for the curry-averse.
For those who like the spice, however, servers will ask you how you prefer your food, on a one-to-three spicy scale. We took the middle ground and found our entrees ideally rendered on a “two.”
The chicken 65 ($11.99) entree is chicken sauteed with onions, green chiles and yogurt. Served with your choice of egg-fried rice or naan (we elected for the puffy, charred bread), the small, brick-colored pieces of chicken were juicy and coated nicely with Indian spices. After every few forkfuls, I paused for a cool-down with a spoonful of soupy raita ($3.98), the yogurt-veggie palate cleanser of a condiment.
The lamb vindaloo ($13.99) was also a success, even if the luscious meat — all of which here is halal — could have used a few more veggies (more potatoes, please!) to cut the richness.
Vegetarian entrees were pleasant endeavors. The aloo gobi ($9.99) featured cauliflower that was a bit too al dente for my taste. However, the saag paneer ($9.99) more than made up for it, nicely toeing the spice line with pureed spinach and chunks of Indian paneer cheese.
The only real damper on the meal was the lentil soup ($2.99), a textural mixed bag that badly needed salt.
Most diners acquaint themselves with the restaurant through its daily lunch buffet ($8.99), which grants a rather textbook take on the cuisine, serving many of the cuisine’s more predictable entrees. On the plus side, the spread is said to offer dishes that rotate daily.
Formerly a forgettable bagel store, the revamped dining room is decorated with red tablecloths, bright yellow walls and loud artwork, all of which is upstaged by the vibrant food. If you make the effort to stop in for a meal at Bombay Palace, you’ll likely be rewarded with a tasty dining experience from an under-the-radar spot.