Tandoori Bites the Big One in San Jose
I really wanted to like Tandoori Bites located in the heart of the Silicon Valley commuter lunch shed. The owner couldn't be nicer. On our first visit she brought by a fresh basket of naan, and actually had us put our half gnawed pieces of naan in her hand. The naan was perfect - big and poofy, slightly burnt in a few places, with just a slight brushing of butter.
That first visit we tried the buffet, which is fairly small as Indian buffets go. My favorite dish was the potatoes and turnips - a surprise since I don't like turnips - however, I didn't spot one potato in the dish. The channa masala (usually a favorite for me) was far too watery. The chicken curries all had meat with questionable quality. I would have liked to have seen some chicken tikka masala with tandoori chicken meat or kebabs with chicken breast meat.
Overall the buffet was okay, but definitely not worth $10. For $7 I'm happier with the buffet at Taj in Sunnyvale. The best sounding item on the Tandoori Bites menu was the aloon naan, but I couldn't justify paying an extra $4 for it after already paying ten bucks for lunch.
If you decide to order off the menu, the entree prices are in the $13 range - even at lunch. I did notice the naan wraps though, and decided to make a return trip a week later for those. They are advertised as to-go only, but if you arrive after 1 p.m., you can convince them to make them to eat there. The boyfriend and I shared two naan wraps - each consisting of meat, cucumbers, onions, and chutney wrapped by naan (actually I think one didn't have the cucumbers or chutney). The naan was good. However, the meat quality of the chicken wrap left something to be desired. The chicken tandoori wrap wasn't much better, and had an odd taste that took some getting used to. Perhaps the seekh kebab wrap is better, but I'm not going back to find out
My Current Indian Buffet Rankings:
1) Turmeric, Sunnyvale
2) Priya (Berkeley)
3) Passage to India, Mountain View
4) Mehak, Berkeley
5) Sargam, Walnut Creek
6) Mayuri, Santa Clara
7) Taj, Sunnyvale
8) Maharaja?, Mtn View – on Castro St., can’t remember name but it’s not Sue’s
9) Tandoori Mahal, San Francisco
10) Khana Peena, Berkeley
11) Rajib?, Richmond – can’t find it online; might be closed
12) Swarna,Walnut Creek
13) Tandoori Bites, San Jose
14) India Palace, Berkeley
15) Raj, Oakland
3730 N. First St. (at Tasman Dr.)
San Jose, CA 95134
Not a fan of this place either.
I didn't have time to go to any other place and I really wanted Indian so I stopped by here for the lunch buffet.
The curries were all watery. All their veggie dishes didn't have too many veggies in it. Like you, I couldn't find potatoes in the aloo ghobi they had that day. It was more sauve than anything else.
Their chicken is mostly thigh meat and the cuts were pretty small. You have to fish out the meat to get enough on your plate. It was spiced very mild but it was missing flavor. The taste just seemed off.
The naan was good. Warm, chewy and crusty all at the same time. But that's not enough reason to go back.
I noticed they now have some lunch special for $6. I can't recall how many items but it is to go. Since I wasn't impressed with the food, I haven't gone back.
I rather make the trip to Mayuri or even Bombay Garden.
Bombay Garden is the one on Larence and El Camino, right next to OSH. It is in the old location of Pasand if I'm not mistaken.
They have a large buffet. I lost count but for sure more than 20. They have both North and South Indian. Everything is labeled and the South Indian is on it's own area. Mango soft serve for dessert.
I never wrote a report on it but I should. It wasn't too bad.
There's also a Bombay Garden in Newark, on Mowry Ave, across from the Newpark mall. I thought their lunch buffet had an excellent selection, maybe 20 or so dishes. But I kept going back for the lamb curry and tandoori chicken, didn't have room for much else after my initial sampling.
You oughta try the buffet at Masala Indian Fusion in Danville. Ignore the fusion part, the chef/owner used to cook at 4 star hotels in India, and the fusion stuff is only part of the dinner menu, you can get traditional stuff lunch and dinner. I think the buffet is still only $9 (I don't get to go as much now that I work too far away), and is always really good, and changes depending on what's fresh. Masala is still my favorite Indian restaurant of all time.
re: Melanie Wong
I feel like having a song to the tune of "You say tomato" about how you like dark meat and I like white meat. (Caveat: I like white meat when it's moist and flavorful and done correctly, not when it's too dry.) Except for the wraps we didn't order off the menu. I was glad to see your report since I was curious about the entrees.
re: Steve Green
I actually was just talking about going to the Amber India buffet a few days ago. I've heard various reports of the cost of their lunch buffet - $13? $16?, and since I wasn't bowled over by my dinner off the menu there (even though I love Amber Cafe), I've put off trying their relatively expensive buffet.
Do you know how much it is? Is it worth it?
Last time we went (several months ago--we don't live in the B.A. any more), it was $13, IIRC. Well worth it to us, if only for the butter chicken, which is always on the buffet. The other selections vary from day to day, but we think everything's great. More of a selection on the weekends, but lots of families, with generally well-behaved kids. Avoid Friday, as it tends to be very busy. Open for lunch 7 days, from 11:30--2:30.