Malabar Indian Restaurant 
It’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into when you go to Malabar. In fact, it may be a requirement.
Adam and I were only slightly familiar with Malabar. Adam passes it every day but had never tried it, and my family ordered takeout from it once years ago. That meal seemed bland at the time, but my wife had purposefully selected non-spicy items to be family-friendly. We had heard it compared favorably to 52L-favorite Anokha. So more-or-less blind, we gave it a shot this day. It was an odd and disappointing experience.
We were directed to a table for two… then ignored. The centerpiece of the restaurant must be the buffet, because we were not offered menus. Nor were we encouraged to start with the buffet. After about five minutes, we decided the the buffet must be the default option, so we grabbed some plates and filled them. The offerings were of varying quality.
We really liked the Vegetable Pakoras (fried vegetable fritters). We also both enjoyed the Butter Chicken (chicken in tomato cream sauce). The Paneer Tikka Masala (homemade cheese in tomato sauce) was okay, but the Chana Saag (chickpeas in spinach) bland and forgettable. We both enjoy naan, but none was available on the buffet. After flagging down a server, we were given a basket of disappointing naan (was more like flat bread) and some dosas which were probably good when fresh, but alas. There were no samosas. There was a dessert but neither of us tried it. In all, the selection on the buffet felt limited.
At the end, we had to chase down our bill, $19 for lunch and waters for two. A Hamilton a head is standard for a West End lunch, but that same $10 will get you better food at Anokha or any of the other Indian restaurants we have tried.
Lunch Topics: Work, Comics, the iPad, Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut, sharing PCs at home