CVI Crapcam
Lamb meatballs, chicken tikka masala, chicken curry and a huge veggie samosa. Mmmm. Credit: CVI Crapcam

What: The lunch buffet

Where: Monsoon Indian Cuisine, 555 S. Sunrise Way, No. 107

How much: $8.99 Monday through Friday; $10.99 Saturday and Sunday

Contact info: 325-2700; www.monsoonindianrestaurant.com

Why: The variety of delicious flavors.

Buffets get a bad rap—and there are indeed bad buffets out there, featuring drying, congealing entrées dying a nasty death on steam tables, plus wilting lettuce and nasty sugar-bomb desserts.

I implore you: Don’t go to buffets like that, no matter how hungry you are. You can do better.

Instead, head to Monsoon Indian Cuisine. Every weekday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and every weekend from 11:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (when you’ll pay $2 more, for some mysterious reason), you’ll find a varying selection of about nine delicious entrées; some basic salad; lovely chutneys; and gulab jamun (think moist doughnut holes with the flavor of rosewater) and kheer (rice pudding) for dessert.

Then there’s the naan, which the folks at Monsoon bring to your table fresh and piping-hot from the kitchen. We especially recommend the garlic naan, garlic breath be damned.

On a recent visit, I loaded basmati rice on my plate, and topped that with chicken tikka masala (featuring a “creamy tomato-based gravy”); chicken curry; lamb meatballs; and a huge vegetable samosa. This big plate of food did not take long to finish off. (Hey, don’t judge. It tasted really excellent.)

If you’re more into the veggie side of things, no worries; beyond the samosas, the buffet often features tasty treats like palak paneer (a cheese, spinach and pea dish), aloo gobi (a cauliflower and potato entrée) and other non-meat offerings.

Even though all of these yummy entrées are offered on a buffet table, never fear: There’s very little drying, congealing or wilting happening at this lunch buffet.

And since it’s a buffet, it’s OK to go back for seconds. Or thirds, even, if one of the entrées fits your particular fancy. Just be sure to save room for the gulab jamun and the kheer.

Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. A native of Reno, Nevada, the Dodgers fan went to Stanford University intending to become a sportswriter—but fell...

2 replies on “The Indy Endorsement: The Lunch Buffet at Monsoon Indian Cuisine”

  1. The Monsoon buffet is a lunch time treat that me and my other half often frequent. It has taken a few years to bring him up to my level of eating different ethnic foods but Indian fare is becoming a favorite for him. It is a better option for his diet if we are dining out since the focus of Indian food is primarily vegetable dishes.

    Monsoon has recently had a change of hands. Handed off to a relative, we’re told. We miss you, Kuhldeep! You were always charming and made us feel like you were welcoming us to your home. Kuhldeep’s occasional recommendations were always spot on when we wanted to try something different from our usual favorites. If you haven’t yet tried the Samosa and Channa Chaat appetizer, you don’t know what you are missing.

    We only recently found out that they had extended their buffet to the weekends. Yay! Practically every dish served in their weekend buffet is a favorite of ours. So, for us, the weekend buffet is even better. When we were informed about the weekend buffet we were told that it has one extra meat dish. That and the samosas, which are not in the weekday buffet, could attribute to the extra two dollar price. Some of the weekend dishes might even be a bit more complex or expensive to prepare.

    One tip to offer. The wet dishes seem to hold their heat better than the dry dishes. We mentioned that some of the dishes were not as warm as others and the staff took the time to thoroughly check the temperatures of the items in the buffet. All were said to meet code. It could be that it is simply just winter and the serving plates are already cool so the dry dishes are just warm by the time you take a bite. Maybe best to serve those last on your plate just before heading back to the table. Especially, if you are waiting for other people to move out of the way to reach the dishes you want.

    I have tried to prepare some of these dishes at home. They can be time-consuming and never taste quite as good as the restaurant so it is worth the buffet price, two dollars more or not.

  2. To clarify, when I say “dry dishes” I don’t mean dried out dishes. I mean dishes without a sauce. The CVI is right when it says “there’s very little drying”. Buffet items are refreshed in batches. There was even one time the Tandoori Chicken pan had gone empty. As soon as they had more prepared they went around to each table to those who wanted it and served it hot out of the pan before the placed it in the buffet table. That was a nice touch of service.

Comments are closed.