My boycott of Akbar Restaurant is over. Why boycott it, you ask? Well, a few years ago (2005-ish) I had some extremely poor service. But it was the lunch buffet, you say! What kind of poor service can you get at a lunch buffet? The kind where some jerk tries to run you over with a table that he's dragging across the room while you are actually at the buffet - first - and then almost knocking you out of your chair fifteen minutes later doing more or less the same thing. I was pissed enough to consciously leave a 10¢ tip on a $9 meal.
My, I do hold a grudge.
Today I figured enough time had passed to go back and re-sample the fare. And why not? Said guy has probably run over one too many feet with those tables. He's probably not there anymore anyway.
Akbar is a Mount Vernon institution, and is celebrating its silver jubilee. I had some free time for lunch and was in the area. I figured, "Why not?"
Since it was close to the end of the lunch rush, I did hurry. This time I was served almost immediately, and the staff were definitely polite. As for the food, I helped myself to a little bit of everything.
Some of the food was sitting out for a while, and yes, it is the tail end of the lunch buffet, so I understand some of the food will be fresher than the rest. A few of the things that I did like:
- The channa chaat, a tangy chickpea concoction that wasn't the ordinary channa chaat. This extra tangy one not only had potato along with the chickpea (making it more of an aloo channa chaat), but was coated in a delicious tamarind sauce. The best thing I ate there before dessert, which I will get to.
- The saag was rich and flavorful - some very good spinach
- The chicken tikka masala was in a very nice, buttery sauce (almost like a murgh makhani sauce), even if the chicken itself was a tad dry.
- The pea and paneer masala also had a lovely sauce, even though the paneer tasted slightly burnt.
- it was the dal. Flavorful but I sort of forgot it was there, and ended up dipping my tandoori chicken in it.
- The basmati rice was a little dry and clumpy.
- The chicken tandoori and tikka were a little dry.
- Again, the slight burnt taste of the paneer. It's easy to burn - I know: I've done it. And the slightest burn, the cheese just tastes very strongly burnt. Not easy to avoid.
- The naan was a little dry, though perfectly fine by the time it had absorbed the and masala sauces and coriander and tamarind chutneys.
The total was $9.50. This time I left $1.50 tip. Much better service this time around, even if the food was uneven. But again, except for the paneer I blame that mostly on the time of day.