By Chitra Parayath
Smack on the border of the two culinarily adventurous towns, Lexington and Arlington is the newest Indian eatery, Bollywood Café. More a deli than a full fledged restaurant, it does have an extensive menu loaded with desirable choices with everything offered from appetizers to Soups to Tandoori specialities.
Since their opening on the 22nd December, the little café has seen a steady rise in popularity with Americans as well as Indians coming in to give their fare a try. Indian food has come of age, and has become popular alongside Chinese, Italian and Mexican foods among Bostonians.
The service is friendly, accommodating, I am seated the moment I come in, and the owner, Arvind, a friendly young man begins to take my order, offering suggestions. It's hard to choose, as there are so many mouth-watering dishes on the menu.
There were Samosas (filled vegetarian and non-vegetarian turnovers), and Pakoras (vegetable and meat mixtures fried in chickpea batter) served with little cups of tamarind sauce. Nariyal soup is creamy shredded coconut with nuts and the ubiquitous Mulagatawny soup is spicy and hot.
The menu also has a selection of other popular Indian dishes such as Mango Chicken, cooked with homemade mango sauce and curry spices, Lamb Bhuna, with pieces of Lamb cooked with fresh green peppers, Jalapenos and tomatoes with a thick curry sauce and garnished with ginger.
Shrimp dishes like Shrimp saag (shrimp tossed with a dense, seasoned spinach mixture), Shrimp Jalfrazi and tandoori Shrimp Masala are offered and the vegetarian dishes ran the gamut from the traditional Baingan bhartha to Shahi Bhindi and Vegetable Vindaloo. Mint and Jeera lassis are also offered along with the plain variety.
We ordered our food extra spicy and were pleasantly surprised by the authentic taste of the dishes. Punjabi Chicken, cooked with exotic spices in a curried yoghurt sauce was a particular favorite with the kids, while I liked the shahi paneer with fluffy tender naans. Their breadbasket comes with a variety of pooris, Broccoli nan and garlic nan.
Bollywood café can seat up to twenty-five people and the little restaurant is cozy and clean. Arvind assures me that they can do big office lunch orders and can cater for parties for all occasions. There are two full time chefs and Arvind lends a hand when the volume of customers is high.
Masala dosa a thin, giant pancake wrapped around savory potatoes is the south Indian dish offered and it is served with Sambar( dal based curry) and Coconut Chutney. The portions are large; most meat and vegetarian dishes are served with rice and expect to spend about $30 for dinner for two.
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