Eat like royalty at the East India Grill lunch buffet

Eat like royalty at the East India Grill lunch buffet

The buffet experience was much missed during the pandemic.

Movies, concerts, sporting events, handshakes and hugs — these are all among the things many may have missed during the pandemic, and some may have wondered if they could enjoy that comfort again.

Another of those luxuries: the lunch buffet. It’s a simple, comforting amenity that lets you eat just about as much of what you want.

Many of us probably took it for granted during the pandemic restrictions that made us so afraid to even touch something like a serving spoon that others had dipped into a common serving tray. It’s funny to think that there was a time when participating in such an activity meant running the risk of contracting a life-threatening disease.

However, I’m here to tell you that I recently rolled the dice, so to speak, and ate at a local lunch buffet. It’s a beloved Federal Way restaurant, and in my personal experience, it’s safe and absolutely delicious.

I had heard that East India Grill at 31845 Gateway Center Blvd. S. was one of the best restaurants in the area for Indian food, and that they had an outstanding lunch buffet at least before the pandemic.

It had been years since I had visited a buffet. I arrived and was shown to a table where I sat awkwardly and waited before someone had to tell me to go help myself from the buffet. I was rusty, but I guess “buffeting” is a bit like riding a bike – once you learn, you don’t forget.

One of the nice things about a buffet is that you can try anything, at least anything you want, because I chose to skip the salad bar.

Everything in the East India Grill lunch buffet looked fresh as the curries, stews and other treats steamed. I opted for the vegetable pakoras – deliciously fried chickpea batter fritters with an assortment of vegetables inside. They did well when I dipped them in the various sauces and stews I put on my plate, things like cubes of paneer cheese dipped in a rich, creamy masala sauce, and lentils cooked into a puree consistency and seasoned to perfection.

I really enjoyed the roasted zucchini and onions which I tried instead of a salad. I found the garlic naan, which was perfectly crispy and chewy, to be another good container for the remaining sauces on my plate.

However, my favorite dish was the tender tandoori chicken, marinated in a yogurt sauce before being cooked in a clay tandoori oven. When done, the chicken has that lovely reddish pink color with flecks of green herbs that makes it one of the most beautiful chicken dishes I have ever seen.

For less than $20, the lunch buffet at East India Grill is a great way to try Indian dishes you may have never had before and it’s a great place to enjoy a leisurely lunch before to inevitably take a chicken tikka masala-induced nap.

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