Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11
Upscale suburban Indian restaurant with a daily lunch buffet.
The folks behind Tava address head-on the perception of the Indian buffet as a kind of a challenge to your intestinal mettle and take great pains to emphasize the freshness and quality of their AYCE lunch buffet. Everything is made from scratch daily, they claim, nothing frozen, nothing left over, always rotating, and commonly featuring at least a few dishes you don't see every day. The showpiece of the buffet at Tava is its namesake, a circular, convex metal griddle used over large parts of Asia for everything from bread to meats to vegetables. Positioned next to a generous selection of chutneys, pickles, raita, and garnishes, it's mounded with some sort of stir-fry option, vegetable or animal. On a recent pass it was sizzling a tamarind-laced potato-onion concoction the house called "aloo bomb." Otherwise you might run across something like a sweetish, cooked-down cabbage masala or aloo banda—turmeric-tinged south Indian potato fritters fried in chickpea batter—or chole bhature, a breakfast one-two punch of spicy chickpeas and fried bread that originated in Delhi. And the standards stand out. The saag is made with fresh spinach and olive oil (rather than ghee), goat curry is laden with tender nuggets of bone-in meat, and even a heavy-cream-saturated bummer like navratan korma, usually made with frozen vegetables, tastes pretty remarkable. On top of all that, each table is presented with a basket of fresh naan and a sizzling platter of tender charcoal-fired tandoori chicken, which as business grows busier, begins to suffuse the dining room with a smoky tandoori haze.
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