Mela (new Indian place Avenue North of Lawrence)
Got a flyer, ventured in, was delighted to find a well-lit, busy but not noisy, cloth napkins and tablecloths sort of establishment. The patio should be nice in summer. Servers was friendly, and apologetic that the menu hadn't quite been finalized yet; growing pains were also in evidence when we were disappointed to find out they had already run out of shrimp at 7PM.
We ordered three dishes + naan for two people, which enough to have some leftovers for lunch. Obligatory papadums came with a well-presented array of standard dipping areas. Although tender and generously portioned, the lamb vindaloo was not spicy and was a tad heavy on the sweet tomato flavour - this was the only dish I wouldn't order again. The chicken biryani, although not necessarily 100% authentic, was close enough to the real thing with regard to flavours, spices and tender morselly goodness, and was the highlight of the meal. The baigan barta (eggplant) was also excellent, with a nice balance of creaminess and distinct pieces of eggplant showing off a delicate roasted flavour. The regular naan was also noteworthy for being light and fluffy, not burned, with a lovely smattering of nigellas, and with butter being optional.Bottles of Kingfisher ran to $5.50, and the whole meal with three beers came to about $63 for two, before tip.
Definitely a keeper.
I believe the address was 1921 Avenue, on the East side north of the McDonalds.
Mela update - we returned a few days ago after a hiatus of a few months, and a few dishes, particularly the biryani, were noticeably different/bland and, although ok, were not outstanding.
We spoke with management, wondering if there had been a change of chefs. They were very apologetic, and explained that the Caucasian clientele were sending back too much food as "too spicy", so they'd had to dumb down the cuisine somewhat. We were told that in future, to ask the server for proper spices. So, something to keep in mind! They did try to make amends by including some freebies in our takeaway leftover package, which was nice.