what: lunch buffet
where: Bayleaf Eclectic Indian Cuisine, 520 Lady St., 803-465-0666
Someday I’m going to write a screed about how Indian buffets harm the perception of Indian cuisine in the U.S., leading people to gorge themselves rather than savor and appreciate the complex, layered curries.
But this is not that day. Because the Bayleaf buffet is pretty good.
Not only that, it’s in the Vista, and having a decent Indian restaurant in the city center is a true gift.
Visit at night and you can order off the ambitious menu, but for a quick lunch visit, the buffet is the way to go. It features many of the usual suspects — tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, butter naan, raita, a mango dessert — as well as a few curveballs. For example, on the day I went, baby corn spears had been batter-fried and sauced, producing something with the comforting texture of General Tso’s Chicken. And the aloo gobi (a simple potato-cauliflower curry) was downright spicy. The buffet also features chicken dum biryani, a particular specialty of Bayleaf, with rice that’s moist but not wet and flavorful bone-in chicken pieces.