The Bollywood Grill is the second restaurant we’ve been to this year that used to be a 5 & Diner (Lemongrass Cafe is the other).
A copy of a copy of a copy is the only way to describe those former, cheap, pre-fab, hackneyed diners — the only restaurants we’ve ever been in that had us longing for Denny’s.
Bollywood (thankfully) seems possessed of more kick and vigor than your usual run-of-the-mill Indian restaurant — if one visit is any indication.
Sadly, run-of-the-mill pretty much describes all Indian restaurants we’ve ever eaten in.
Not that we have anything against average Indian food — at its worst, it’s some of the tastiest, complex, and deeply flavored food on the planet.
But what we search for is a place where the naan is a bit puffier, the biryani more interesting and the sauces and stews that define this cuisine fresher and more succulent than the usual Indian joint — most of whom toss the same recipes at you like they came from an underground, industrial kitchen somewhere.
In other words, as with Vietnamese food in America, all of it tastes pretty much the same to our untutored taste buds.
Is Bollywood the answer to our prayers? It’s too early to tell, but the aloo saag (potatoes and spinach in a creamy, yogurt sauce), mixed curry biryani, and lamb vindaloo were all stellar examples of these standards, and the bullet naan (infused with green chiles and cilantro), and vegetarian dosa were intense with the flavors of their primary ingredients.
The vindaloo in particular possessed that deep, mellow, back-of-the palate heat that settles in and maintains a warming glow throughout the meal — enhancing the lamb without overwhelming it.
So good were they that we headed back there two nights ago for a second dose of dosa. But alas, we were foiled in our attempt for another dinner.
A half an hour after our order was placed we noticed two huge parties of 12 and 8 diners (who had clearly placed their orders before we arrived), who hadn’t a crumb on their table. The place was almost full, although only a couple of tables seemed to be eating. Our conclusion: the kitchen was clearly being overtaxed by the restaurant’s unexpected popularity.
So rather than further stretch its capacity, we paid for our drinks and took our leave. The owner and waitress actually looked relieved when we told them to forget our order.
Will we return? Well, to quote the woman who came within 9,549,975 votes of being a heartbeat away from the Presidency: “You betcha!” — because even if the food wasn’t so darn tasty, this place serves the additional purpose of providing us with our Bollywood music fix, playing as it does constantly on a big screen in the main dining room.
After studying a number of these numbers, we at ELV best summed up these videos in a haiku we posted on our Facebook site:
Videos just as stupid
With brighter colors
But there’s no denying the entertainment value involved, especially if you prefer a suggestion of violence in your videos (some semi-ugly dude always seems to be threatening some better looking dude over some hot chick with a dot on her forehead), combined with about a thousand dancers gyrating in the background.
So fond have we become of these swirling, colorful diversions of inane musciality, that we’ve decided to stick it out at Bollywood, no matter how slow the service is, the next time we stroll in for a bite.
Our one meal for four with three large beers came to $102 + a $23 tip.
6840 West Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89146-2966