Earlier this fall, regulars and loyal patrons of Elmwood Village’s India Gate rejoiced when the fully-renovated restaurant reopened after a fire forced it to close its doors in February. It welcomed customers back with a new coat of paint and interior decor but the same hospitality and tasty cuisine on which it’s built a reputation.
Of all the Indian restaurants in Buffalo, India Gate has been dishing out its spiced specialties the longest, and is especially known for its exceptional buffet offerings. An all-you-can-eat lunch buffet is available seven days a week from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, while its dinner buffet occurs every Wednesday night—making it the perfect mid-week dinner solution when you’re in the mood for something comforting and delicious but can’t bear the thought of turning on the oven. Plus, it’s reasonably priced—$14.95 to help yourself to as much tandoori chicken and yellow dal as it takes to satisfy your curry craving.
If the term “buffet” brings to mind claggy mystery dishes baking under hot lamps in a Cracker Barrel, fear not. India Gate’s buffet is a smorgasbord of colors, textures and flavors, prepared fresh and kept hot in modest serving platters that are regularly tended to by its accommodating staff. The diversity of dishes offer a thorough sampling of their menu items, with a good mix of vegetarian specialties on display, as well as desserts, chai tea and mango lassi—a tart and sweet yogurt-based beverage with a touch of cardamom—to round out each meal. The dishes are different each time, with some mainstays re-appearing each week.
When approaching any buffet, it’s a good idea to have a plan of attack in mind—use the first go to sample a little bit of everything and the second for an additional helping of what you liked most. At India Gate, crowd-pleasers like rich chicken makhani and chana masala are served up next to tender goat curry and fragrant okra bhaji, and there’s plenty of basmati rice on which to pile it all. Mixed pickles and chutneys punctuate the selection for a tangy bite to complement all the warm flavors and rich sauces. A basket of either plain or garlic naan is served alongside every meal—bubbly and crispy and perfect for scooping up whatever combination of sauces is left on your plate.
I always go back for seconds on the yellow dal (curried lentils with lots of turmeric) and gobi aloo (potatoes with cauliflower, cooked with ginger and other spices until soft), and am always happy to see goat or lamb alongside chicken curries. On my last visit, I also tried the saag, curried spinach, and the mater paneer, curried house-made cheese with peas. While my dining companion returned for more paneer, I favored the saag—creamy and slightly addictive, it was the perfect comfort food for a chilly Buffalo evening.
While each dish features a blend of spices, nothing is spiced too hot, so the selection is approachable for kids and for those of us who tend to opt for milder flavor profiles. With a variety of options and ingredients, it’s also a convenient option for groups. India Gate offers friendly service and a pleasant atmosphere, but the buffet itself is pretty no-frills, making it a quick, easy dinner solution that doesn’t compromise on taste and quality. And, when the temperatures drop and we’re craving something cozy and comforting, the right combination of ginger, coriander, cumin and turmeric usually does the trick.
After months of quiet, India Gate celebrated its September reopening with a special dinner buffet and belly dancing. They’ll be hosting similar festivities this New Year’s Eve, which might be the perfect way to prepare to ring in the New Year. Curry spices have restorative properties—eat enough turmeric and you’re basically hangover proof. Grab a group of friends and make a night of it.
1116 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11:30am – 2:30pm and 4:30pm – 10:00p, Fri-Sat: 11:30am – 2:30pm and 4:30pm – 10:30pm
Takeout and Delivery Available