When the lunch bell rings, nine-to-fivers swarm this Indian restaurant and fill the space to capacity for the lunch buffet. Lunching here is like dining in a busy cafeteria; after making your way to the front of the line, you find yourself seated in the midst of continuous motion. Waiters scurry back and forth clearing plates, replenishing baskets of naan and bringing sizzling plates of fiery red tandoori chicken while diners buzz in between tables on their way to and from the buffet.
Although you can find more eclectic selections at other Indian eateries around town, the buffet is undeniably massive. For around $10 you can graze popular Indian dishes like saag paneer (spinach cooked with cubes of cottage cheese), aloo tikka (deep fried potato cutlets sprinkled with bread crumbs) and chana masala (chick peas cooked in North Indian spices). The mango shake and gulab jamun—a fried dumpling soaked in saffron syrup—keep your sweet tooth in check.
The large lunch crowd and variety of food may be overwhelming, but the sea foam green walls, minimal wall dressings and maroon and white table cloths are not. The restaurant's design is more about function than fashion, with the exception of a stately, copper-colored wood bar that greets visitors at the door.
In the evening, Indian Garden transforms itself from cafeteria to restaurant for dinner. Take away the buffet and the crunch of the lunch time limit, and the packed crowd disappears and menu choices increase. Egg, fish, basmati rice, chicken and lamb specialties line the pages of a seemingly infinite menu. If you have trouble deciding, the murg tikka masala and the matter paneer never disappoint.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Albrey Nuss