India Gate Restaurant
2512 Walnut Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780
Indian buffets are very enticing, but most are only available during weekdays during lunch time, and after having four plates of delicious Indian food, the last thing I want to do is go back to work for four hours with a stomach full of tikka masala. I'd be pretty useless at work, okay, more useless than a normal day after eating all that Indian food. I bring this up because I always feel a little gipped when I see signs that promote Indian buffets when I'm at a restaurant for dinner. It doesn't diminish my love for Indian food, but I wanted to get this off of my chest.
Our good friends Angel and Rebekah have been talking about India Gate for a long while now, and we finally set up a double date night to try it out. When I looked up this place before coming here, almost all of the comments were about their $9.99 lunch buffet, and how great the food was. Even though we were going to be meeting here well after lunch time, all the positive praise really got me excited to give this place a try.
India Gate has been around for a year and a half now. They are located in a very out of the way shopping plaza just off Tustin Ranch Road and Walnut. This small, five-unit strip mall also includes a Korean restaurant, chiropractor, beauty salon, and a tiny sandwich shop. We arrived here at 6 pm on a rather chilly Saturday, but the restaurant had a steady stream of customers coming through the door. The inside of this restaurant is spacious, with nicely spaced tables, and bright lighting. Not being too well versed in Indian cuisine, I appreciated that the rather large menu was easy to navigate, and had good descriptions of each item. It really made it easy to order, and speaking of ordering, let's see what we ended up getting and if Angel and Rebekah's praise for this restaurant was justified.
We were pretty hungry, so we got a couple of dosas to start our meal with. This was our first time having dosas, which I'd describe as part crepe and part quesadilla. Our first foray into dosa-hood was the Cheese Masala Dosa ($11.95). The menu said that the crepe, which is made of lentils and rice flour, was to be filled with cheese and potatoes, but it was devoid of potatoes. Nonetheless, this was good, with a crunchy outer shell, and the not overly stuffed cheese filling inside. This came with two chutneys, one of which had coconut in it and it was the better of the two. Our second dosa was the Masala Dosa ($9.95) and it was partially filled with peas and spiced potatoes. This was a little hard to eat, as the fillings fell out rather easily. It had the same crunchy outer shell, but the insides were kind of boring and did not add too much to this, as the chutneys did a lot of the flavor work here.
Of course, some naan needed to be ordered to go along with our meals. The Plain Naan ($2.45) and the Garlic Naan ($2.95) came out nice and warm, but I thought it was pretty average. The garlic version needed to have more garlic included. Nevertheless, this was a great vessel for sopping up the excess sauces, which is definitely a trademark of Indian cuisine and one of the best parts of the meal.
If you get a chance to try the lunch buffet at India Gate, do it. Although I was not in love with the dosas or the desserts, all of the entrees that we had on this evening were exceptional and from what I hear they are all available at their noontime ten dollar buffet. The entrees that we had here were some of the best Indian food we have experienced thus far, although I am by no means an expert in Indian cuisine. The service was a little inattentive, especially as the night went on and they became busier. Thanks so much to Angel and Rebekah for introducing us to this restaurant, we enjoyed our double date and the delicious Indian food. Not necessarily in that order.
Out of five running shoes, (because the India Gate monument in New Dehli was the starting and ending point for Robert Garside's 35,000 mile run around the world, and I can imagine he went through a lot of running shoes), five being best to zero being worst, India Gate Restaurant gets 3 running shoes.
For more information about India Gate Restaurant, head to their website here: http://www.indiagatetustin.com/