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Jul 29, 2012 01:47 PM

Diva in Davis Square - Peculiar!

Mr. Swank and I dined at Diva recently. At 6pm, the place was absolutely empty, yet a strange throbbing club music pulsated throughout. Several servers greeted us, very politely (almost apologetically), and each explained that it was her second day on the job. Hmm. Nobody seemed to have any sort of familiarity with the menu. However, it's hard to blame them because ... the menu is completely different from any Indian menu I've gazed upon in the past.

The "new" Diva offers an assortment of tacos as well as several Chinese dishes. Strange! Mr, Swank went with the tried-and-true lamb vindaloo. I got the veggie platter for one -- a good deal at $17.95. It includes soup, salad, two veggie entrees, rice, coffee, tea, and dessert. Also, an odd spiced chicken dish (chicken in some kind of hot orange sauce) is complimentary. It was good the way free meat samples at a food court are good. That is to say, I wondered what this thick orange blanket of sauce served to mask.

The vegetable soup was very good. Our naan took forever to arrive, but it was also quite good when it did surface. *insert BOOMBOOMTHROB music here* But then *boomBOOM* our entrees *BOOM!BOOM! Wait, time to switch stations to Green Day!* arrived. The vindaloo was fine, but my saag paneer looked like a cold scoop of rancid spinach ice cream. It was round, congealed, grey, and nearly immobile despite vigorous prodding from my fork as I looked for signs of edibility. In fact, its shape was not unlike the 1980s hairdo of Granny Swank.

At this point, a few other people had arrived, so the dining room wasn't suspiciously empty. Our servers were gracious, though they didn't offer me the dessert and coffee to which I was entitled, per the menu, since they seemed thoroughly confused by everything *on* the menu.

Our open-air table overlooked the sidewalk, where we were treated to a parade of screeching people (one woman in hot pursuit of another over a missing shoe) and fine people-watching, which came in handy.

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  1. Go across the street to Martsa or down the block to Namaskar. You'll have better food in a nicer atmosphere.

    5 Replies
    1. re: peregrine

      Namaskar closed a few months ago, and while Martsa is much quieter, Tibetan food isn't quite a substitute for good Indian.

      1. re: Boston_Otter

        Sign on the Namaskar space touting a Pakistani restaurant, Punjabi Grill, coming soon.

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          Glad to hear of the replacement. I wasn't sure about Namaskar, so I checked their website, which was still live.

          Good Tibetan is preferable to a headache! And I do like Martsa really. This is not meant as a criticism of their food.

          1. re: peregrine

            Better yet, go to Masala in Teele Square. Very good.

        2. re: Boston_Otter

          Well, to be fair, Martsa's doesn't exactly do Tibetan food, either: it's the cuisine of Tibetans in exile in India, which is its own thing. No surprise: it is strongly influenced by North Indian ingredients, techniques and dishes.

      2. Hilarious! I would say any meals at Diva at this point count as "taking one for the team." I did not realize they'd changed their menu, nor do I really plan to explore it after my last experience a few years ago with a groupon and dreadful service. Personally, I think it's time to start taking bets on longevity... just too bad that they couldn't go out of business before Namaskar, which might have given it a chance.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Parsnipity

          I also had such bad service at Diva. And the food was just okay, so I've never gone back. I'm sad about the loss of Namaskar, though it got pretty bad towards the end. At least there's still Guru (though I always seem to be craving indian on Sundays).

          1. re: maillard

            Masala in Teele is also worth a try.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              I did try them once, but just wasn't crazy about the food. Maybe I'll give them another shot.

          2. re: Parsnipity

            Their menu really hasn't changed much at all since your last visit. They've always had a few oddball items (“kulcha tacos", jalapeno vindaloo, shanghai chicken) but the majority of the menu is still the same dosas, curries, and thalis they've always had.

            For the record, though, I gave up on Diva after too many visits with ridiculous service.