Bengal Restaurant

July 12, 2013
Bengal is an Indian restaurant that is constantly featured on Groupon. The food there is not bad, but the place is not doing well for a number of reasons. First of all, the interior is very drab with no decor whatsoever, and it feels like a run-down cafeteria. I don't need luxurious, but at least I'd want a cozy and intimate ambiance. On the night of our visit, the restaurant was completely empty. The only server on the floor was a young girl who seemed quite timid, and although she was nice and apologetic, it did not help with the situation. The first thing she said when I presented the Groupon was that we HAD to order 3 entrees because there were 3 of us and the Groupon was only for 2 people. I would have done so anyway, but that was a major turnoff. Shortly after we ordered, I saw her discussing something with an older man, most likely the owner, who seemed flustered and kept throwing disdained glances our way. Then she came back to our table and repeated that we had to order 3 entrees and that we didn't order enough. I listed the 3 entrees we ordered and it turned out she had missed one of them. So back she went and the owner seemed satisfied but still did not bother to smile or acknowledge our presence in the least.

Our starter of fish pakora ($4.95) came quickly with sweet and sour sauce and mint sauce. The sauces were good, but the pakora didn't actually taste or look like fish. The texture was like potato or some kind of dough, so I think the fish was probably ground up with a bunch of spices and cooked in oil. It was quite spicy and although it tasted alright, I don't think I would get it again just because I felt it was overly processed and I couldn't taste the fish at all.

I ordered a hot masala chai ($1.95) which was probably a mistake because having a hot drink after eating spicy food is like tongue torture. And this drink was scalding hot. It was also kind of watery and not very flavourful. It tasted a bit like watered-down evaporated milk.

The lamb vindaloo ($12.95) was extremely spicy, so I only had one or two pieces of lamb. The meat was very soft and tender, and the gelatinous fatty layer was especially tasty.

The ruhi khalia ($9.95) was a fish curry. This was my favourite dish because the fish was tender and the curry was piquant and intense without being overly spicy.

The butter chicken ($10.95) came in a very creamy sauce seasoned with fenugreek leaves, but it tasted different from the butter chicken I've had elsewhere. It was milder and the chicken was not very tender.

I really enjoyed the polau rice ($3.95) because it had a strong hint of cardamom.

The plain naan ($1.95), on the other hand, was not very impressive because it wasn't fluffy at all. It was just a shell like a pita with no layers inside.

I found the rosmalai ($3.95) interesting because this was my first time having it. It was a piece of dried cheese soaked in a sweet milky sauce that reminded me of condensed milk. The texture of the cheese was spongy like squeaky foam. I thought it was a unique dessert.

I really thought the food was decent, but the ambiance and service would discourage me from returning.

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