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Apr 24, 2008 05:42 AM

The Bad and Good of Yesterday's Lunch

Met a friend outside my office on Charles Street yesterday, and we walked North...walked into Copra, where I had never been...It was 11:30, and we were seated right away. Our waiter brought menus, and I decided on the flank steak salad. My friend ordered the smoked salmon salad. About 5 minutes later the waiter came back and said they were out of mixed greens, but had romaine and spinach. We said fine, and asked for a mixture of the two. One half hour later, he came back saying they were out of salmon!!! My friend asked why it took a half hour for him to tell us that, and he said they were looking downstairs for salmon they could grill, but were out of that as well. (?) My friend said we should leave, and we did. Now the waiter was fine with that...very nice, and apologized, and said he understood, I agree, the kitchen problem wasn't his fault, and told him so.
On up Charles...almost across the street at 322, a new Nepalese and Indian restaurant called Lumbini. The interior is absolutely beautiful, with murals, a crystal chandelier and white tablecloths. The buffet was $9.99, and we decided to have it. I don't know much about Indian food, but what we had was fabulous! The buffet included a platter with salad fixings, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cukes, etc. Then on to the Vegi Pakora. The batter was so light you could see through it...wish I knew how to do that! They had about 10-different entrees, but no lamb, although there is a large lamb selection on the menu. I tried a Shrimp Chilly (their spelling) and it brought tears to my eyes, not only from the heat but from the deliciousness! The chicken Tikka and Tandoori chicken were the best I've ever had. They also had a favorite of mine, goat curry...which was yummy, and no where near as bony as a lot I've had. There were many other dishes as well...including rice pudding for dessert, and Nepalese tea included in the price. They bring fresh warm Naan to the table on a regular basis, and it was very good.
I was very pleased that there was a spicy (hot) entree, as I know most times buffets cater to the general public. Also, the waitresses were very sweet...every one! and helpful as well. Lumbini also delivers to the local area, and the takeout menu offers a 20-percent off carryout or 10-percent off dine in coupon. The only complaint, and it's tiny, is that they use small paper napkins instead of fabric...with the quality of the restaurant I think they need fabric!
This is the first Indian restaurant I have been to, although I've eaten the food before. Lumbini has been open for three months. Now I need someone like Whitemarsh John to give it a try and give us his take, as he seems to be the chief Indian Buffet guy here!

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  1. Thanks for this review. I almost went there recently but ended up next door at Cazbar instead, which is also good. Sorry you had such a bad experience at Copra. My coworkers and I have eaten there many times and we always enjoy the food. They are almost always very busy during peak hours so I usually go a little early or late. The crabcakes and the pizza are always a hit with newbies. Salads are great. FYI you can rent the downstairs for functions - it is a fun room with a bar and large screen TV's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: egret62

      I've been to Copra three times and find it to be hit or miss. It was a hit once, and a miss the other two times. I haven't fully written it off because their chili and beer samplers are good :)

      Thanks for the info about Lumbini, will have to check it out.

    2. crosby p,
      I'm glad you enjoyed the Indian buffet. There are a lot of good Indian buffets around town. If you're looking for a nice experience you'll have to check out The Ambassador Dining Room near Johns Hopkins University. It's expensive - about twice what others charge and the food is good but not the best, but there is nothing that can compare to the atmosphere - Waiters in tuxes' and an outdoor seating area with a garden. It's a great buffet when the weather is nice and you can linger around for a while since the atmosphere is so killer. I've only been there for lunch (about 5-6 times) and I'm thinking of taking my better half there for dinner. Another good thing about The Ambassador Dinning Room's lunch buffet is that you can go there wearing shorts or jeans and a tee-shirt – people dress all different ways for luch despite the beautiful décor. Other places I like are Kitchen of India on Joppa Road (I love the food but the atmosphere is very plain-Jane) - and Mt Everest on Belair Road although there are many good places around and my taste is not always everyone else’s'.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Whitemarshjohn

        Thanks for all the suggestions. I'd be curious to get your take on Lumbini...In another thread, Crackers went and didn't care much for it although I loved it...being an Indian food newbie, I will have to try the others you've mentioned...I live close to Kitchen of India...

        1. re: crosby_p

          crosby p,
          The buffet at Kitchen of India is very reasonable (again, it's the food and not the atmosphere) - I believe it's around $10 or something per person plus drinks? They are also pretty reasonable for dinner. I haven't been there much lately because I've been on kind of Mexican/South American and Asian kick. Also, my Fiance is getting tired of eating Indian food and taking chances with new Indian places - I can keep trying new Indian restaurants till the cows come home, but she tends to find one place that she likes and sticks to it.