It has been a little over three years since I first reviewed Nilgiris Indian Sizzler. Well their website may still be up for now but the restaurant is gone. Yesterday I drove by and noticed it was closed. Sad to see that since it was my favorite lunch buffet. With the demise of the Bombay Grill a year or so ago that leaves only the Clay Oven on the Golden Mile as your source for Indian dining in the Frederick Area.
UPDATE: There is a sign in the window that says Delhis will be opening soon.
There are three Indian lunch buffets in Frederick that I am aware of: Clay Oven, Bombay Grill and Nilgiris. I now have a new Indian Lunch buffet favorite. Its the curiously named Nilgiris Indian Sizzler. ( Nilgiris I understand- its a mountain range in southern India, but Indian Sizzler? Is it supposed to be the Indian equivalent of the Sizzler Steakhouse? Thank goodness its not!) Honestly don’t worry about it because the food is excellent. It is located at 5732 Buckeystown Pike in Frederick- that’s the same shopping center where the Common Market is. When we arrived for lunch it was almost full but we managed to snag a table. The place was nicely decorated and had a decent ambiance for a restaurant in a shopping center. My only negative was the big flat screen TV blaring Bollywood videos over the bar. Too loud, distracting and unnecessary. On the plus side they had nice place settings with really nice plates/bowls. Sevice was fine:- water glasses refilled promtly and empty plates cleared.
Food: We decided to take advantage of the lunch buffet. They had a small, sad, salad bar (the weakest part of the whole buffet by far) a nice selection of condiments all of which were good except the pickled lemon, which was so sour and astringent I can’t see what would be complimented by putting that on it. Next they had two kinds of rice which were followed by six vegetarian dishes. After that was the chicken rice and three other meat dishes. I tried to sample as much as possible, but it was too much food. Everything I tried was uniformly good. The highlights that stick out in my mind were the alu gobi( which was quite spicy), the vegetable korma and a mushroom mutter curry. I also thought the goat curry, which was in a brown sauce, was very tender and nicely spiced. Its not everyday you see goat on the menu. All in all the dishes were a nice mixture of spicy and not so spicy. The Naan was brought to your table and was hot and delicious. It was neat that you could see the cook through a window making it in the tandoori oven. Dessert was gulab jamun (deep fried cheese balls soaked in syrup) which were a really good way to end the meal.
Booze: They had Budweiser, Miller Lite and Sam Adams on draft. Their wine list had random selection of about a dozen each of reds and whites. Other than Gewurztraminer I’ve never had much success in pairing wine with Indian food. They did have a Gewurz on the list but I opted for a Taj Mahal beer. This is a crisp Indian lager that goes well. They sell it for $8 a bottle, but it is a 22 ounce bottle so its worth splitting with a friend.
The meal was a great value. After we were done I asked my friend how much he though the buffet would be. (He had no idea). He estimated $12-14. He was really surprised when I told him that it was only $8.95. In my opinion this represents an excellent value for the quantity and quality of food. I’ll be back.
As a follow up to my January 16th post I had lunch there yesterday with some friends. As mentioned I haven’t been there is quite some time. They still had the lunch buffet. In fact they’ve expanded it with two more items. Besides the usual basmati rice, two meat dishes, four vegetable dishes and a dessert item they also had a vegetable biryani and a tray of naan. I really liked being able to load up on the naan instead of having to wait for it to be brought to the table. However, I and my two companions all felt that the food was a step below what it had been. The dishes were bland and uninspired. Since the dishes rotate it may have been an off day. Based on the past excellent food I have had there I will certainly give them the benefit of the doubt and will not finalize my judgement until I’ve been there a few more times, but I was certainly disappointed yesterday. The naan however, remains excellent!