This little mid-town “Indian Spice Rave” as they call themselves is quickly becoming one of my favorite Indian food finds. Being Indian, I’m usually very picky about eating Indian out and really don’t end up liking very much of what I try. Bukhara Grill however is quite an exception to my rule.
The restaurant is a carbon copy of one of the most famous Restaurants of yesteryears in India called Bukhara. They have styled their wooden menus, the copper drinking glasses, checkered napkin-bibs you can wear while eating, in exactly the same way. While the look and feel of the two places are the same, the food at Bukhara Grill has far surpassed that of its old and tired counterpart in India.
We went to eat at Bukhara Grill, in a big group of about 15 people and so I got to try a plethora of dishes. Here is some of what we ate.
The one thing that is flawless at Bukhara Grill is their mint chutney. It is quite rare to find Indian restaurants that make such good chutney. So right off the bat, as soon as you sit down at your table and start munching on the papads (crisp lentil flatbreads) and dipping them into the chutney, you just know that any of their dishes using that mint chutney should be pretty spectacular. This brings me to my favorite dish of the night – The Chicken Hariyali Kababs.
CHICKEN HARIYALI KABAB
I just love their Hariyali Kababs. They are made to perfection. These tender chunks of chicken, slathered with delicious mint chutney are grilled to perfection on skewers in the tandoor (clay oven). The Chicken Hariyali Kababs at Bukhara Grill are pretty much on par with any of the hariyali kababs I have had in India.
PUDHINA PANEER TIKKAS
For a vegetarian version of the Hariyali Kababs we tried the Pudhina Paneer Tikkas (Indian cheese). The paneer tikkas were good but really couldn’t compare to the chicken ones, as paneer cannot absorb flavors the way that chicken can.
I rarely try mushrooms in Indian cuisine as it’s not really an Indian specialty but their Pickled Mushrooms really surprised me. I really enjoyed it. The mushrooms were cooked, probably on a tawa (a flat iron cooking griddle) and then were combined with very tasty “pickled” gravy. I loved all the flavors and textures that came together in this dish and would highly recommend it.
I was not very impressed by the Talli Machi ( fish kabab). It was deep-fried, too crispy and too salty for my liking. This dish could have been a fried anything and would have tasted the same. The fish just did not distinguish itself. Next time, I would try their grilled fish tikkas.
MUTTON SHEEK KABAB
The Mutton Sheek Kabab, which is made of ground goat or lamb meat, is quite nice too. It was tasty enough, not outstanding though. I thought the kabab itself was a little too thick and might have had more delicacy if the sheeks (kababs) were made a little thinner.
CHICKEN MALAI KABAB
The Chicken Malai Kabab (kababs with cream) failed to impress me. This kabab, when done right, is one of the tenderest, most delicious kababs one can ever eat. I found the pieces of chicken too big and not tender enough. This was one dish that we could have easily skipped. However, I did manage to pour a whole lot of mint chutney on it and load it with freshly sliced onions and fresh green chilies, which made it taste quite good ( but it took too much “work” on my part – skip this one)
I always judge an Indian restaurant (that serves food from the northern west frontier province cuisine) on two things – how good their Kali Dal (black lentils) and Chicken Makhani (Chicken with a curried butter sauce). Bukhara grill does great on both fronts.
Their Dal Bukhara is very good. It isn’t however as good as the famed Dal Bukhara from India (which to be quite honest is really not that good in India either anymore).
CHICKEN AND PANNER MAKHANI
The Chicken Makhani is very yummy too. The creamy gravy has the right mix of sweet and tart. The next time around, I would try their Chicken Tikka Masala. I always prefer Chicken Tikka Masala to Butter Chicken ( Chicken Makhani). The dishes are rather similar in taste, but vary as one uses precooked chicken tikkas in the gravy and the other one just uses regular chicken. I always feel the chicken tikkas add much more depth and interest to the makhani gravy. For the vegetarians, the Paneer Makhani was equally tasty.
GOSHT MUGHLAI KORMA
We also tried the Gosht Mughlai Korma. I’m not a huge fan of red meat but found the Korma (gravy) of this dish to be quite delicious. I wasn’t as taken with the meat part. I thought it wasn’t tender enough and on many bites, I just tasted the fat part of the goat versus the meat. However gravy part, eaten with plain white rice was really very yummy.
SARSON KA SAAG
We also ordered the Sarson ka Saag(which is spinach with mustard greens). This is really a North Indian specialty and when made well can be eaten by the buckets (literally). Their version was okay. I really couldn’t taste the mustard greens in the dish, it was kind of like a mushy green bowl of stuff. Not horrible – quite edible- but nothing special. I wouldn’t get it again.
RICE & BREADS
The rice and rotis’s (breads) were all very good. The Naans are huge and can easily be shared by three people. We tried their garlic and plain naans, which were both good. We also tried their pudhina paratha (mint bread) – there I go again with the mint. It was delicious.
All in all, I highly recommend Bukhara Grill. They serve up some really good Indian food. I prefer going there for dinner versus lunch. They have a great deal for their lunch buffet but I just didn’t enjoy the food as much– but I’m willing to try it again. The staff is so eager to please and and the owners are very friendly and accommodating.
Bukhara Grill is one of those places where you enter light and eager with anticapaiton and you leave with your belt buckle very loosened and dragging feet. Don’t plan on doing much after eating here – after a meal like that – the only place you can head off to is bed!
MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL
Food: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Ambiance: ☆☆ 1/2
Service: ☆☆☆Price: $$I recommend: Chicken Hariyali Kabab, Mint Paratha, Pickled Mushrooms.
(All ratings are out of a possible 5 stars. Each establishment is individually rated based on my experience of that particular meal. Ratings are also based on my expectations of quality of food, value for money, service, ambiance and overall experience)