LET’S GET HOUSED

Indian food is one of my biggest weaknesses, the Indian buffet my Achilles heel. I will just eat and eat, until I can barely roll myself out of the restaurant.

There are some fantastic Indian spots to choose from in the Baymeadows area, and with so many options you can’t go wrong. We chose India House because it gets major points for the fresh naan the waiters bring right to your table.

Speaking of waiters, the service at India House is impeccable. The waiters are attentive and anticipate your need for more water (and naan) before you even have to look up to ask. The naan arrives hot and buttery with a little sprinkle of fresh cilantro. I strongly recommend savoring a piece while it’s piping hot; there are few life experiences as wonderful as fresh naan.

Let’s get down to the business of the buffet.

On the vegetarian side, you’ll find a variety of dishes from lentils to eggplant. The saag paneer is a must; it’s a heavenly dish that consists of spinach simmered with paneer, a traditional Indian cheese. For cauliflower lovers, the fragrant cauliflower and potato combo is a winning decision.

For the carnivore, there’s savory chicken curry, tikka masala, chicken tandoori and tender goat. If you are new to Indian food, the curry chicken and the chicken tikka masala, in its creamy tomato sauce, are good places to start. You’ll be hooked as soon as the complex flavors and rich sauce pass your lips.

With so many tasty sauces, you’ll want to use as much rice and naan as you can to soak it up. To get the most variety in one trip, I tend to set up my plate with a row of rice straight down the middle, giving me optimum space for a little taste of everything.

Dessert is a choice between the cool and fragrant kheer or the warm and rich gulab jamun. Kheer is an Indian rice pudding with the added bonus of almond slivers and cardamom. You don’t see cardamom a lot here in Jax, and this is one of the best dishes to experience it. Just try not to eat the pods if it’s your first time! If you’re in the mood for something warm and sweet, gulab jamun is for you. These round balls of dough are drenched in a honey syrup and each bite is more satisfying than the last. Undecided? Get both — that’s the point of a buffet!

What is the price, you may ask, for such a complete sensory experience? The weekday buffet at India House is $8.99, the weekend trip is $9.95. Where else in Northeast Florida can you sample a variety of flavors of a cuisine for such a low price? Next to nowhere, except India House on Baymeadows.

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