By Jennifer Sheppard
When you walk into Bombay Grille, the smell of fresh ingredients hits your nose right away and you feel like you've just entered another land.
The new Indian restaurant, at 581 Beville Road in Daytona Beach, is a charming spot to taste some of the highest-quality Indian food in town.
After a quick glance around, you'll notice the dinner tables are set for a king. Once you sit down, a waiter comes to greet you at the table, filling your water glass while you flip through the menu deciding what to eat.
What's different about Bombay Grille is the overall impression. If you swing by for lunch, the friendly staff is warm and welcomes you to try the buffet, which at $8.99 for six dishes and one dessert, is a satisfying deal.
"It's the best of the best on the buffet," said Akhter Bakker, restaurant manager at Bombay Grille. "The buffet is a very low price. We are worried about the pockets of people."
Try everything on your first run down the buffet line. Start with the fresh green salad with cilantro dressing, a popular mix of green chiles, ginger, garlic lemon and yogurt. The buffet changes daily, and the choices are always impressive. Tandoori Murgh, or chicken, is a main staple. It is marinated overnight in yogurt, herbs and spices. In every dish, there is a variety of savory seasonings including cumin and red pepper, so nothing is bland. Dish yourself some basmati rice to go with Murgh Makhani, (boneless roasted chicken simmered in homemade makhani gravy.) It's delicious!
"All of America knows about makhani," Mr. Bakker said.
When your return to your table, a basket of freshly baked leavened bread, or Nann, pronounced "non," will be waiting. The staff can also provide Garlic Nann, cooked especially for you.
As you're eating, enjoy the upbeat Indian music or watch some of the Bollywood films on TV.
And, if you come to Bombay Grille and you've never tasted Indian food before, the staff can offer you a recommendation.
Dinner entrees all come with rice, including the Fish Tikka Masala, which is cooked in the spiced clay oven with tomato- and onion-based gravy for $14.95.
Lamb options, like the Lamb Korma, a cashew flavored dish in a creamy sauce with freshly ground spices at $13.95, are especially tasty.
The menu caters to vegetarians, too. Try the Dal Makhani, (black lentils cooked overnight in the clay oven and enriched with cream in a vegetarian skillet), $10.95.
If you'd like a little bit more kick to your dish, the chef, Harry, is a master in the kitchen and can season to your liking. Bring the kids for their choice of pizza or mac and cheese for $2.99 and chicken fingers and tater tots for $3.99.
There's also a full liquor bar with Indian beers like Taj Mahal and Haywards, along with domestic and other imports.
"We are going to be ramping up the bar pretty soon," Mr. Bakker said. "We want people to come here for happy hour."
On a good night, the restaurant serves 80 to 90 dinners, Mr. Bakker said.
There's also a private section that can accommodate big groups and parties of up to 56 diners.
The restaurant is busy all the time, Mr. Bakker said.
"This is the beginning," he said, when asked about opening another restaurant.
If you have room for dessert, Kheer, or rice pudding, goes great with fresh fruit. And at $3, the Mango Lassi is a refreshing drink mixed with mango and yogurt and enough to share. Get it served on ice!
Hours: Sunday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 2: 30 p.m.
Dinner Sunday - Thursday 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday - Saturday - 5 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Happy Hour Daily 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.