Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gaylord

Location: 100 E Walton
Cost: $12 per person

My buddy Nikhil is a pretty frequent reader of JEC and thought it was unacceptable that I hadn't gone to his favorite Indian restaurant in the city, Gaylord. For that matter, a lot of my Indian friends have recommended it to me. For a long time we'd planned on going to partake in the lunch buffet, and we finally made time during winter break.

Logistics
If you venture in a tiny bit to the West of Michigan Avenue you'll find Gaylord in the basement of some large business building. The front of the restaurant has a small bar, but the majority of the place is one large dining room. For lunch they run a pretty large buffet that can draw a crowd, but it's still reasonable for an hour lunch break if you can get to and from there in time. For dinner I think the setup changes significantly, and you may want to call ahead. Also, it's a real pain to find parking in that part of town, so I'd avoid driving at any cost.

Our service for a buffet was solid. They made sure to clear any dirty plates, drinks were refilled promptly, and our basket of naan was kept full. The waiter did pretend to confiscate my camera, which is probably my least favorite food blog related joke, but I'll let it slide.

The cost is pretty great, especially considering the part of town it's in. The lunch buffet costs $12, and if you go to Northwestern you can get an additional discount. Considering that some other buffets in the area like Indian Garden cost $17, this one's a steal. For dinner the menu cost goes up considerably with entrees in the mid teens and such, but I can't really speak too much to that because we were there for lunch.

The Food
I was starving by the time we got there, and I hit the buffet hard. My first plate had all of the vegetarian stuff on it. My favorites were the Saag Paneer and the Roasted Cauliflower. The saag paneer was a little creamier than I'm used to (in a good way), and the paneer had a firm texture with a little sear (which is way better than that limp tofu like stuff you get elsewhere). The other stuff on the plate was mostly fried veggies which were fine, but I wasn't really in a fried food mood.

 My first plate (all the veggie stuff)

Next time around I made sure to hit up all of the proteins including the Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Masala. Both were on the spicier side which I was pretty pleased by. The sauce on the chicken masala was very thick and rich. For a buffet, these pieces of chicken weren't thoroughly overcooked or anything which was very appreciated.

The Chicken Masala (left), and Fried Fish (right)

 The Tandoori Chicken (sorry for the pic quality)

For dessert they had kir (rice pudding), fruit, and gulab jamun (deep fried, thoroughly over-sweetened, milk balls). I've never been able to enjoy gulab jamun. It's just way too damn sweet for me. The kir was pretty good though.

Overall
Well I think I've found my spot for Indian lunch buffet. Gaylord was reasonably priced and had some really strong dishes. My favorites were the Saag Paneer and the Tandoori Chicken. None of the food was toned down for the local palette either. I'm giving them 4.5 out of 5 Pearls (and can't wait to go back for dinner next time).

Gaylord India Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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