The India Palace is not new to me. For a time, it was the only place to get Indian cuisine in Greenville. For my last night of bachlorhood while Laura is away, I stopped in and thought it was high time for a review of one of our favorite restaurants.
Once, this building was the only Burger King in the Upstate. As I was growing up, it was the first hamburger joint to add indoor seating, beating out the McDonalds down the road. After Burger King closed, it had a brief fling as a BBQ joint, and eventually reopened as India Palace The exterior still has vestiges of the old BK, but one step inside and everything changes. When they first opened some of the booths seemed to be of the old burger era, and the decor seemed cheap. The owners have recently remodelled, and now the interior is elegant with warm tones and comfortable seating, both booths and tables.
The menu has always had a very good variety of Indian dishes. It has recently been updated to include even more, making decisions difficult. There are a large selection of appetizers and entre’s, both meat and vegetarion. My favorite, though, is section of Indian breads. I’ve tried to sample all of them over the years, but still haven’t gotten around to everything.
Prices range from $4, $5 for appetizers to about $10-$14 for entre’s Given the portions, the prices are quite reasonable.
The meal always begins with papadam and onion chutney. Normally I like a good Indian beer, such as Kingfisher, to round out the sweet bitterness of the chutney. Tonight, however, I took a different tack. At the recommendation of my waiter, I ordered Keema Naan, a bread with spicey minced lamb cooked inside, and a cup of spicy hot tea. After finishing the papadam with water, I used the remaining chutney with the naan. The flavors combined wonderfully.
For an entre’ I selected Chicken Mango. This is a spicy dish with gravey, meat and broccoli, punctuated with sweet bits of mango. It is similar to a stew, and is best served on top of the accompaning long-grain rice. I’ve had the lamb mango on previous trips, and and it just as appetizing. Another of my favorites is the chicken biryani rice dish, and Laura loves the chicken tandoori and chicken vandaloo (extremely spicy!)
Since I was alone and still had a nice cup of tea and a good book to read, I opted for dessert. I ordered kheer, a type of rice pudding with cream, nuts, and in this recipe, dried fruits. It was rich, and I lingered over it enjoying the sweetness mingling with the spices from the tea. As much as I like Kingfisher, I was glad I skipped the beer for tea tonight.
Service has always been problematic at India Palace. Tonight, it was exceptional, with my waiter making suggestions (albeit, in halting English), and working efficiently and pleasantly. This has not always been the case. On previous trips we have encountered sullen waiters, and waiters that totally ignored Laura and would only talk to the male at the table. Fortunately, things seem to be improving, and while their English skills could use improvement, at least they don’t seem to be letting their cultural biases be an influence on their work.
At least two other Indian restaurants have arrived in Greenville, but this is still our favorite. India Palace continues to serve excellent food at good prices. More importantly, they maintain that quality while working to improve. I highly recommend it.