If Sai Ram had been an Indian restaurant in the heart of downtown Bombay, there would have been nothing exceptional to recommend it over any other Indian eatery. Located as it is on Northland Ave. however, it proved to be a welcome taste of home when this past Sunday a friend and I wandered over to Northland in order to try the “25 item buffet” that Sai Ram advertises for $7.99 ($6.99 on week days). Though the lighting leaves much to be desired, this is typical of small Indian restaurants back in India, and I felt right at home from the get-go. I decided to start with a couple of nans, some tandoori chicken, and a helping of chicken makhani before moving onto rice. Sadly, the tandoori chicken lacked the bite it traditionally should have, and so did the chicken makhani. However both were still eminently edible. Feeling a trifle disappointed, I helped myself to some rice and sambhar. While the sambhar was described as lentil soup, it is usually eaten with rice in South India, where the dish originates. My first mouthful put a large smile on my face. This was how sambhar is meant to taste. The dal makhani and chana masala were excellent as well, and went a long way toward making up for the letdown I had experienced with the chicken.
The coup-de-grace for me, and here I must admit I am biased, was the mango kulfi. For me, it was worth the price of the buffet alone. Every mouthful reminded me of home. Simply exquisite.
My final verdict, then—Sai Ram may not have the best Indian food you will ever eat, but it does a perfectly serviceable job nonetheless. I for one will definitely be going back, and they better make sure they have more than enough mango kulfi to go around.
Address—253 W. Northland Ave.