My foodie neighbor loves the lunch buffet at Shaan Indian Cuisine (Hyde Park Plaza, 3880 Paxton Road, Hyde Park, 513-533-3100) and my CityBeat colleague, Karen Christopfel, wrote a glowing review of dinner there last year. I decided to give their lunch buffet a chance even though I am really not that into Indian food and I think that buffets are best left for tacky weddings. At Shaan, I was both surprised and impressed.
The buffet is offered 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and features 25 items of generally Northern Indian cuisine. The food was remarkably good on the whole, kept piping hot and at $7.99 a pretty great value. The buffet was well stocked and maintained with fresh product being brought out as needed even though the restaurant wasn’t very busy and lunch was nearly over when we arrived.
Shaan’s buffet offered several standout choices. I was extremely impressed with the Vegetable Pakora. These deep-fried fritters were crispy, filled with onion and spinach and were quite addictive. The Mushroom Matar was the best option on the buffet. It’s a mildly spiced vegetarian dish that was packed with flavor from the mushrooms, peas and tomato.
It’s absolutely wonderful when combined with the fluffy basmati rice or a starchy turnip dish that I surprising enjoyed. I say surprisingly because I have never found turnips in the past as anything other than filler, however these turnips were properly cooked and seasoned.
The buffet’s nice assortment of meat dishes was heavily focused on chicken prepared many different ways. The good news about that is that the chicken was absolutely delicious. It was hot and moist whether it was in spicy curry sauce, served as Tandoori chicken or featured in a very good version of Chicken Tikka Masala.
Shaan’s cold bar featured cucumber and tomato salad and some interesting chutneys and nibbles. The neon green mint chutney and the spicy pepper chutney were both good, but the tamarind sauce was stunning. It had a rich smooth flavor that added flair to the Nan bread or the Bhatura fried bread. The spicy pickles more than lived up to their name as they were fiery hot. The heat wasn’t a problem, but I thought that they left a bitter aftertaste.
The dessert buffet usually features rice pudding, but they were out of it when I was there. They did offer Gulab Jamun, deep-fried dough consisting mainly of milk products and Indian spices. To me it was tasteless and gummy, but there was also fruit available which provided a nice sweet end to my buffet experience.
Even though I visited the buffet three times, there were several dishes that I didn’t get to try, including a beautiful looking Vegetable Biryani, which is an Indian version of fried rice. In fact, I have to recommend this buffet for vegetarians as they have ample choices making this is a great place for both meat eaters and vegetarians to lunch together.
Shaan Indian Cuisine offers an above-average buffet that keeps the food hot and is well stocked. If you’re looking for a quality Indian lunch buffets that’s cheap, hot and tasty, I’m pretty sure that you will love this one.
CONTACT BILL HATFIELD: firstname.lastname@example.org