Friday, July 6, 2012

Gem of India - Springfield, MO

While I was home this last trip at the end of May/beginning of June, I finally made it over to try Gem of India: one of a couple of Indian food restaurants in Springfield, MO. Gem of India is located at 211 W. Battlefield, just east of Campbell Avenue.

I'm not sure why I've waited so long to eat here since I do love me some Indian food. They offer a lunch buffet every day from 11:00 am – 2:30 pm. My brother frequently enjoys this on the weekends and says it’s good with a nice variety of items. They also offer a dinner buffet, but only on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm: why these two days only, I have no clue. Their menu is available online for browsing, and you can also order delivery online through a 3rd-party delivery service.

I was indecisive on what I wanted, but knew that I wanted samosas as an appetizer, so my brother and I went with the Gem of India Dinner for Two (#116 on the menu). I don’t believe we received the raita that was supposed to come with it, but it didn’t really matter since we couldn’t even finish what we did get. Seriously, 3 people could easily eat the dinner for two if you order another naan to go with it. We went with the meal since it’s the best value. I wouldn’t say that Gem of India is too pricy, but unless you split a dish (which you totally can since they’re large enough), you can end up spending about $40 dollars on a meal if you order 2 curries, bread, rice, and such separately since the curries run between $10 and $14 each.

This is my brother once again looking thrilled that I’m visiting while we’re waiting for food to arrive. He said he had a headache, but I’m not too sure how much I believe him :).

This is the mulligatawny soup. It wasn’t too bad. I can’t remember exactly what it tasted like right off hand, so it wasn’t too memorable, either.

This is the papadam, which is kind of a baked lentil wafer thing. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor to it, but the flavor it does have is distinct…I can’t really describe it though. It's fine by itself but better if you dip it in one of the sauces they bring out.

This is the vegetable samosas (the upper part of the plate) and the vegetable pakora (lower part of the plate). I looove samosas and pakora. Samosas are a fried dumpling/turnover type thing filled with potato and peas – sometimes they’ll have carrots, too. Pakora are battered and fried vegetables (usually onion, cauliflower, potatoes, and spinach). I could seriously eat a meal consisting of just these two things. So yummy.

This is the garlic naan. It comes with plain naan, but I asked if we could substitute garlic naan instead. The naan was good and fresh and not overcooked. I do wish they had smaller naan and brought out multiple pieces instead of the one giant naan to share: I’m kind of weird about touching food that others might eat and others touching food that I might eat. I blame it on years of working in food service.

This is the tandoori chicken. My brother hadn’t had tandoori chicken before, but he liked it even though he would’ve preferred the boneless variety (I would've, too). Tandoori chicken is chicken coated in yogurt and spices and cooked in a special oven (a tandoor). This was dark meat pieces, which I’m not a fan of, but it was still good. It tasted like most tandoori chicken I’ve had at places here in Korea. It can be a bit spicy, but usually it’s not too hot. It's always very tender and moist no matter where I've had it.

This is the lamb bhuna curry. I’m not usually a big fan of lamb (it’s a texture thing), but this wasn’t too bad. The lamb was tender and not chewy like other lamb I’ve had before. The curry was spicy but not overpowering. The sauce is thick enough to not run off of your naan, too.

This is the chicken tikka masala curry. I usually prefer the vegetarian curries at Indian restaurants since I never know if the chicken pieces are going to have bones in them or not. Luckily, Gem of India uses boneless chicken in their curries, so the chicken tikka masala is quite good. Sorry for the blurry pictures of the curry. I find it really hard to describe the flavor of Indian dishes because it’s hard to have a reference. A lot of them are just different kinds of spicy with vegetables or meat. The meal also came with saffron rice, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

The dessert we both picked was the gulab jamun. These are deep fried balls of wheat served in a super, super sweet syrup. If you’ve ever had Indian desserts before, you know they’re usually pure sugar, and these are no exception. They remind me of donut holes in pure corn syrup.

I didn’t take any pictures of the inside of the restaurant, but it’s your typical Indian restaurant décor with kind of over-the-top frilliness. By that I mean wine glasses for your water, cloth napkins, nice tablecloths, soft lighting…you feel like you’re underdressed in your jeans and t-shirt even though you know it’s just all for show.

I would definitely eat here again next time I’m home and try out the palek paneer, which is probably my favorite curry. Mmm, palek paneer. If I’m with a group, maybe get another one of the “special dinners” for multiple people so we can try a variety of things.

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