Best Lunch Buffet

Ruchi

Ruchi's ersatz formal dining room alone is worth the price of the buffet. Past the entrance, all smoky and mysterious from a burning stick of potent incense, is a dramatically appointed room with tiny "crystal" chandeliers, glass-topped tables, masses of artificial flowers and tinkly, soft Indian Muzak. Like a shrine, in the center of the room, is a shiny brass-and-glass buffet line topped with brass planters overflowing with silk flowers. It's a Temple of Food: puffy fried eggplant pakoras, wedges of oven-baked nan (which can be dipped in a fiery carrot chutney), cauliflower cooked in a curry sauce, jade-green spinach paneer, tender lamb korma in a creamy yogurt sauce and fragrant tandoor chicken. It's a lot to pile on a plate, but you can return to the shrine for many pilgrimages. The weekday buffet is $6.95; it's a buck more on weekends, but for lovers of this elegant ethnic cuisine, it's worth a Rajah's weight in rupees.
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