Bombay Grill 

Though 10th Street Station regularly lures me in with its romantically seedy vibe--old concert tickets and dusty sports photos curling at the edges from the ever-present cloud of smoke--that same decaying charm has never made me long for Indian food. Boy, have I been missing out.

Lurching open the Idanha's heavy doors on a recent weekday evening, I made a sharp left into the eerily empty Bombay Grill. Though the open, three-tiered space has a dated feel--worn teal carpets, light pink walls and smudgy brass railings--it manages to ooze a comfortable charm. Offered a table by the fireplace, which wasn't on, my date and I caught our reflections in the adjacent wall-sized mirror.

Our server approached with a sly smile and guided us through the menu's various items, interjecting a few wisecracks along the way: "The saag paneer is like your mom, it takes over everything around it." Breaking off shards of freshly fried papadum and dunking them in ramekins of sweet tamarind and mint sauce, we decided to share the tandoori shrimp ($16.95) and a vegetarian sampler platter ($15.95). The tandoori, our server cautioned, would take a while because the shrimp needed time to properly marinate.

What sizzled out of the kitchen 20 or so minutes later was a fragrant pile of Indian fajitas. A heap of caramelized onion slivers concealed a family of beastly pink shrimp dusted with an array of spices I couldn't come close to identifying. The vegetarian thali came with a holy-shit-spicy bowl of saag paneer (creamed spinach and cheese cubes), a shruggable side of chana masala (spiced whole chickpeas), a helping of super-rich dal makhani (creamy brown lentils), a bowl of bright yellow navrathan korma (mixed veggie curry), a cucumber yogurt raita, crunchy/chewy naan and a side of white rice. Though the individual servings in the sampler platter seemed small at first glance, we ended up carting home far more than we could eat.

When I returned to Bombay Grill to check out the lunch buffet later in the week, the vibe had completely changed. A warm natural light filtered through the street-facing windows as a number of office-types loaded their plates with heaping scoops of starched-shirt staining curries. With Indian pop music softly streaming from the speakers, I dove into a mound of all-you-care-to-eat radness ($8.95). A couple of old friends from the sampler platter turned up--saag paneer, navrathan korma, dal makhani--alongside an array of newness like the alu tikki (crispy, oniony fried potato chunks) and the bayngan bhartha (tandoor-roasted eggplant with a pronounced tomato tang).

Sipping on a cup of complimentary chai tea, I finished off my meal with a few bites of a fried, donut-hole-like desert, swirled in a pool of milky rice pudding. Though the weekday lunch buffet at Bombay Grill is a far better deal than dinner--more variety, cheaper prices--it suffers from one unfortunate pitfall. You can't trudge down the joint's well-worn back stairs for a nightcap at 10th Street Station.

--Tara Morgan gets all dal-ed up for a night on the town.

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Bombay Grill.
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