786 - Worst Indian buffet in recorded history!
Well maybe not, but damn it is close.
I got roped into going there for lunch yesterday. I usually avoid buffets, but occasionally I have stumbled on a good one. There used to be a truly great one in Hong Kong at a restaurant called Bukhara in the Sheraton. For the same price as most buffets in Little India you got a selection of about 18 superbly prepared dishes, including prawn and fish dishes, 4 or 5 lovely desserts, fresh naan and chilled water in copper goblets. The Viceroy does a similar spread for a little more, but includes a dosa station!
Yesterday, I stumbled into a buffet from the 3rd level of hell. I wil say the one good thing I have to say first: Very nice young guy running the place. OK, now to business. For $11.99 (more than the average in Little India) we had a choice of 7 items - 4 chicken dishes, 1 mutton and two Vege. First the chicken ones, a Bhuna, Tandoori, Korma and Ginger chicken, all of which were unrelentingly awful. The chicken was all stale, it was immediately apparent. It was strongly spiced, but the taste was very obvious. Previously frozen thighs and legs on the verge of going bad cut up and curried for your dining pleasure. No breast or wings mind you, just rubbery old rubbish I wouldn't give to my dog (if I had a dog).
The mutton was a joke. I think it was goat actually, which I usually enjoy, but this was tough as shoe leather and again, obviously old and probably frozen. Lumps of gristle in an undistinguished gravy. Yummers!
The vege dishes were as cheaply made as humanly possible. Channa Masala, which was the only dish even approaching edibility, although I suspect the chickpeas were canned and a Mutter Aloo. Big chunks of overcooked potatoes and frozen peas in an even more undistinguished gravy than the mutton.
To finish, pieces of plain burfi. My daughter loves burfi, so I swiped about a dozen to take home for her, which made me feel a little better, but not much.
In summary, 786 restaurant is not only godawful, but an out and out ripoff. Even by Little India's low standards, this place bites. Avoid!
I was sad to see 786 offer a buffet as I'm a huge fan of the place. My wife's family (Indian and Pakistani) love the food from there, and Saturday nihari nights are a must whenever they are in town. But you had to know the buffet was not gonna be great, and I guess the place is hurting.
I still love the food there, we had excellent takeout just the other night actually, but I make sure my wife calls in the order and speaks Urdu to them, as other posters have suggested that 786 dumbs it down for whitey.