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Sep 29, 2008 08:09 AM

Bengal Restaurant in Miami, anyone been?

Went there this past Saturday and have a very mixed review. The way it started only made me think I'd be writing "Don't Go!" but the food was actually quite good. The decor of the place is actually quite nice, with colored sconces on the wall and a few minimal touches to the place. Terrazzo flooring and old styled booths gives the place an additional vintage sense in the absence of cheesy decorations. I imagine the place is Pakistani or Bangladeshi, because there is red meat on the menu. First thing first - the service was atrocious. Our server were new and untrained. I do not think she had ever waitered before, served wine or eaten Indian food in her life. I am sure she's a nice person who needs a whole lot of training, which put a damper on our meal. Second one I've had in a week, so things have been entertaining for me, but patience is starting to run thin.

No notes on the food itself, but all of it was quite good, save the desserts. We started with chicken Samosas which were nicely spiced and tasty. We also received papadams, a delicious raita and an excellent coriander chutney (my favorite condiment for almost anything). I also ordered a mango lassi which was extremely thick and not so refreshing, but not bad. I just would not recognize it as a lassi. For the main course Mrs. I ordered the vegetarian platter, most of which was intricately spiced and quite tasty. I especially liked the chick peas and potatoes with something pickled in it. In laws ordered a chicken in a cream sauce (not butter or korma, but do not remember the name) which was excellent. and a lamb that was also very good. I ordered curry goat which was solid as well. Spices on these dishes were not the typical intricate layers of excellent Indian cooking, but still very good. The quality of their ingredients was also quite high.

For now, skip desserts, make a trip to Todo Frio on Douglas and 27th Street and get some guava or mango ice cream for a fraction of the price.

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  1. My hub and I split a veggie platter and a chicken korma. The veg was the clear winner. It was fantastic and plentiful. The chicken was good but a wee bit dry for my taste (though seasoned well.

    I really liked the place.

    1. Where is the restaurant located and what did you think of the prices vs. worth?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Miami Foodie Girl

        Value wise for me was on the plus side as far as Indian restaurants go. I am curious to hear any comments jessierandall may have had regarding the actual service though, as that is the only thing that would make me hesitate returning in the near future.

        1. re: Icantread

          Service was, shall we say, quirky. The server seemed confused for much of the time but it was oddly endearing.

          I thought the food was quite good and the prices were decent (though a little higher than I expected originally.) My veg dish was reasonable but I did remember thinking that some of the other dishes were on the high side. I think a chicken korma was around $18.

      2. We tried Bengal this weekend and had no issues with the service at all. Very earnest, very attentive, I thought they did a fine job. The food was decent if not exceptional. It's not in the same class as the original Renaisa (now Heelsha up around 167th St.) but there's nothing wrong with it either, if you're in the mood for Indian.

        We had a mixed tandoori kabob app to start along with some vegetable pakoras, then a lamb vindaloo and the veggie platter along with a couple of breads. The tandoori was decent, several cubes of chicken, lamb (the chicken better than the lamb, which was a bit dry) and a couple of shrimp. The vegetable pakoras were rather bland. The lamb vindaloo was rich and tasty, but undoubtedly the mildest vindaloo I've ever had (which is often searingly hot). The vegetable platter was very nice, 5 different veg each in their own bowl along with some basmati rice - sweet potato (a little sweet, and redolent of cardomom), carrots, chana masala (chickpeas), saag dal (lentils & spinach), and peas and mushrooms. Each had a different spice profile and flavor to it, which is nice. Also nice is the ability to get an assortment of vegetable dishes without having to get a full order - we usually end up with leftover Indian food for days b/c we like to order a variety of things. Again, I thought all of the veg were surprisingly mild. The breads (we had a garlic naan and a paratha) were only OK.

        We were not asked how spicy we wanted any of the dishes, which is perhaps something which could be addressed, as the spice level - while it may be more accomodating to those not accustomed to Indian food - may be turned down a little too low for others. Agree with OP's comment as well that they didn't really show the deep layering of spicing you often get with really good Indian food. But given the dearth of good Indian options in Miami, I'm happy to see them opening up and hopeful they get even better.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Frodnesor

          Thanks for your input Frod. If they've worked out the kinks on service I will definitely be back. I was disappointed with the spice level, as the peppers also add flavor to these dishes. We attributed it to playing it safe as well. They definitely have a good base to (hopefully) improve upon and become a very good Indian option.

          1. re: Frodnesor

            We also tried Bengal this weekend and really enjoyed it. We had the classics: korma, biryani, chutneys and nan, and ras malai. As Frod said, not quite as good as Heelsha, but definitely better than most Indian places around IMO. The service was good on our visit and we were asked how hot we wanted the food which was great. Love that my hubbie and I finally have a decent Indian place close to SoBe.

            1. re: yomyb

              The last time we went to Heelsha (some time ago), the chef had some fun at our expense when someone asked for things extra spicy and laced everything with habaneros. Their food's excellent but the habanero screwed up the taste, not to mention my mouth and intestinal tract. I do wish they were closer for more frequent visits nonetheless.

              1. re: Icantread

                Sorry about your intestines! One time a friend of ours asked for 5 on a scale of 1-5 and we all, including the owner/waitress (wife of chef I believe), tried to warn him...he went ahead and we all cried laughing when he was red and sweating. I couldn't taste anything in that vindaloo either, it was INSANE! I agree that sometimes spice can overpower every other flavor. Now every time we go she asks about our friend! But even then we all agree that is the place to beat around Miami, and a 2-3 on the spice scale tends to be hot but just right ;-)