By Jon Parton
If I live to be in my 70s, I plan on acting like a stereotypical old person. I’ll complain about kids on my lawn, drive 10 miles under the speed limit and frequent local buffet restaurants. After discovering Flavor of India, I might just add it to that rotation.
I found this little gem hidden away in part of a small row of shops in Lenexa at 12112 West 87th Street Parkway, just west of Quivira Road. It can’t be seen from the street, but like all grand discoveries it just takes a little searching.
I was hesitant to go in at first. I have a hard time trusting any location with darkened windows unless it’s a bar.
I wasn’t sure what to think when I stepped inside. Traditional Indian designs covered the walls while Indian folk music softly played over the speakers. We were instantly seated at our table by the wait staff as our drink orders were taken. Coca-Cola may not be what most Americans think of when it comes to Indian beverages. Most Americans would be wrong. Coca-Cola controls nearly 60 percent of the carbonated beverage market in India, according to Euromonitor International.
The buffet itself, just like the building, was pretty small but it managed to hold a large variety of choices. I started with the tomato soup, which carried enough spice to distinguish it. I found myself dipping garlic naan, an oven baked Indian flatbread, into it, creating a unique rush of flavors that can’t be replicated with American-style cuisine.
The brinjal eggplant was unique, fried with a variety of spices and a hint of sweetness. It was the only dish to which I found myself going back for seconds. The chicken tikka masala (spicy chicken), made famous in Great Britain, was creamy but lacked that signature spice the dish is known for. More than likely, this was done to make it more palatable for American tastes.
The chicken Vindaloo, spicy curry chicken, was a favorite of our table. Much to my surprise, the strong mixture of garlic and other spices enhanced the flavor rather than detract from it. As good as it was I much preferred the tandoori chicken, roasted chicken prepared with yogurt and spices, due to its great blend of spices and the tenderness of the meat.
Our hospitable server was kind enough to answer my dining companions’ questions and always quick to make sure the drinks were filled. The total bill for three people came to a little more than $30, or $10 per person. That’s not bad for lunch.
As an average guy from Kansas, I had no idea an Indian buffet could be as good as Flavor of India. Then again, I just had to look for the hole in the wall.
Contact Jon Parton, managing editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.