Best Indian Restaurant - 2003
You just got off a four-hour flight with nothing more for sustenance than Beer Nuts and a soda. Take the money you saved on that cut-rate airline and head for India Palace. The sign out front is neither obvious nor fancy, but the food and the setting (on top of the Bridgeton Howard Johnson hotel) are fabulous. No matter how many people may be here -- and the dining room, bisected by a usually empty bar, is huge -- it is quiet, with lamps bathing the space in a warm gold glow. Ideally, your sweetie has picked you up, and you are seated either at a table by the window where you can watch planes silently rise and fall, or at a booth. Order a beer or a bottle of wine from the small but serviceable list while you ponder the menu. Given your condition, you'll probably opt for a potpourri of curries (lamb, shrimp, chicken) accompanied by basmati rice and prefaced by a tomato-and-chicken soup that's light yet robust. The vegetarian side of the menu includes nineteen dishes, featuring everything from okra to cauliflower to eggplant to lentils -- some delicate, some mind-numbingly hot. Your mate, craving comfort food Eastern-style, goes for the aloo korma, a cheese-and-potato dish with a mild sauce. Selections from the tandoori list can be pricey, but they're delicious, especially if halibut is an option. When you leave, you vow to return for Sunday brunch, which is served buffet style, with goat, tandoori chicken and at least three vegetarian choices offered in addition to nan and other side dishes.