Bollywood Grill Offers Many Unique, Succulent Choices
The Spicy Side of India
The new menu retains many familiar items but has expanded. There is depth in goat and lamb dishes, a selection of vegetarian items from South India and chaat platters. Chaat are appetizer plates, finger food to enjoy while seated at the bar. For starters, the samosa ($3.50) remain reliable, a pair of small turnovers with a vegetarian filling of peas and potatoes, the potatoes a golden hue thanks to liberal use of cumin. For something meatier try the chicken chilli ($6.95). Boneless pieces of chicken are dusted with gram flour and cooked with green pepper, onions and a few curry leaves. The chilli sauce has a hint of sweetness, but is unlike the very sweet chilli sauces of Singapore. The mix also includes hot pepper, which may be ordered to taste.
When planning a meal, do not order just one item. For one thing the entrées are not especially large and a proper Indian meal demands bread, basmati rice and perhaps some raita. Among the breads is the standard naan ($2) made from wheat flour. Poori ($3) is similar but it is deep-fried until it puffs. It is much like the sopapillas found all over New Mexico. Raita is the condiment of yogurt and cucumber with a hint of mint. This is the perfect counterpoint to the more fiery curries, especially the vindaloos. Plain basmati is usually included with the curries as are chutneys when appropriate.
There are dozens of options for main courses, including chicken, seafood, vegetarian, lamb, goat and even beef. The goat curry ($13.95) is mild and the meat is all about tenderness. This has a brown sauce with the predominant spice being allspice. Allspice is the key spice in Jamaican curries but this one is quite different. Seafood includes a Bengali fish curry ($13.95) with boneless fish pieces marinated in mustard oil, a unique flavor accented by a few black mustard seeds. Dried chilli adds some heat (but not too much). Still this is not fare for timid palates.
The tandoori grill items offer some succulent meats like chicken ($9.95-$15.95) and rack of lamb ($18.95), all with the vivid red coating of spice paste. The seekh kabab ($13.95) is of lean, minced lamb meat mixed with spices and is similar to Middle Eastern kefta kabob. Here it is served cut into pieces on a sizzling hot cast-iron plate with slices of red onion and over a bed of cabbage and carrot.
Much of the menu is geared towards vegetarians. The South Indian section offers uthapam ($9.95), herbed pancakes made of rice and dal (lentils). They are served with a side of sambar, a South Indian vegetable soup with bold spicing. It’s energizing fare for a wintry day.
Mayura was also popular for its lunch buffet, which remains a fixture at the Bollywood Grill. There is a good assortment—half meat and half vegetarian. Several of the vegetarian items do not appear on the menu at all. The meat will invariably include goat curry and chicken tikka. This is a fine way to sample the extensive menu.
Although the new setting is different than Mayura, the quality of the food ranks the Bollywood Grill as one of the best local options for Indian fare. This is a place for spice lovers. The flavors are complex and not shy in the least.
1038 N. Jackson St.
Handicapped access: yes