Lunch buffet at Minerva in Natick
Minerva has replaced the now defunct Curry Leaf in the Sherborn Plaza on Rt 9 in Natick. They offer a reasonably extensive lunch buffet for $10. If I recall correctly, today they offered:
Chicken tikka masala
Lamb curry (moderately spicy)
Eggplant and potato curry
Aloo curry (thin, rather watery, no peas)
Tadka dal (yellow dal)
Two other tomato dishes (sorry, didn't try, ran out of room)
Salad (the generic iceberg lettuce, onion, carrot, cucumber)
Onion chutney (red)
Several other chutneys
Exceptional? No. For the price and selection, decent, all things considered. The biryani was a little dry, but better after adding raita. I prefer the vegetable biryani at Tamarind Bay, where I believe the secret ingredient must be crack. The tandoori was okay, if lacking that truly smoky aroma/flavor from the best places I've had in Boston (Kebab Factory years ago, but I was very disappointed recently) and Mumbai (Kandahar in Mumbai). I don't know how to judge butter chicken and chicken tikka masala, since I never tried these while visiting Mumbai or other parts of India (the first time I had butter chicken was on the airplane as the in-flight meal!). The navratan korma was dreadfully creamy for my tastes. I never had tamarind rice before and didn't like it. The potato was better in the eggplant dish than the one alone. The okra and dal were tasty. The raita was a little sweet for my tastes, and I prefer slivered almonds to small cashews, but it was acceptable. The chutneys and pickles were pretty good. In terms of bread, I always prefer it when they ask you for your choice of bread and make it just for you.
I went with an Indian friend, who is vegetarian. He agreed that it was decent for the price and selection for the lunch buffet. We had gone to Gold Star together, and he had been to Welcome India. Rasoi is next. Minerva wasn't either of our favorite area Indian restaurants, by any means, but if you're in the Metrowest area, craving Indian for lunch but have no idea what you want so would like a place with a nice variety, Minerva is probably worth considering. We'll probably go again, eventually. I do miss the now closed Udipi Bhavan, and I had enjoyed previous visits to Dakshin a few years ago.
My wife and I have eaten here twice, both times for dinner, and found the food to be exceptional. Unfortunately, judging an Indian restaurant based on the made-for-Americans lunch buffet often leads to dismissing the entire place, and that is unfortunate.
I spoke with the manager, and he told me the weekend buffet is more geared to Indians, with more South Indian items being offered. I would suggest either trying that, or ordering off the menu, and I would be surprised if you are disappointed.