Monday, October 24, 2016

The Battle of the Buffet Continues: Spicy Mint

Normally I am the picture of restraint as anyone that knows me could tell you - a Fire Goddess, strong and proud, totally cool, not easily tempted into a fight, courageous. Oh, yes, tall and blond, young, 20s even, FYI.

Lots of parking, conveniently located near a head shop and a chapel in Colonie
And then I went to Spicy Mint and I totally lost it. The food was THAT GOOD. Tucked in the back of just another scenic strip mall on Wolf Road (Wolf Road Shoppers Park), the decor is simple with a touch of class. Staff paid attention throughout our meal to make sure that dirty plates were whisked away and water glasses topped. The manager (I think) graciously took the time to explain what some of the dishes were, which was very helpful.

We're off!!!  Oh, the glorious promise of a great buffet lunch. Who would pop first????
At the start of service, the buffet area is clean and well organized

The decor is simple with a touch of class

We all started with a bit of fresh salad (oniony). In addition, I piled on some Vegetable Upma, cooked semolina spiked with spice, including curry leaf, with a bit of tomato and coconut curry sauces on the side, a piece of Tandoor Chicken, the Vegetable Biryani, and a Spinach Pakora (fritter). Every bite was a sensation.  That was Plate #1/5.
From top going clockwise - spinach pakora, salad, tandoor chicken, tomato curry, upma, coconut curry, veg biryani with raita

Red polished off plate #1 before you could blink, but I went back five times, sure I would win.

Pony dared the Curd Rice (mostly yogurt and rice with spice) - kind of odd - hers was a heroic tasting. This little palate cleanser is a savory but it had some hard bits in it that I didn't really like (seeds? dal? - not sure......).

Library Lady smiled quietly and cleaned her plate, seemingly effortlessly.
Masala chai tea (not sweetened), condiments, salad and rice

Chicken dishes, vegetable options, and dal - lots to choose from
Spicy Mint gave us her best - great food, lots of variety, attentive service, and a good price ($9.98/person for lunch). The colors were bright and varied, as were the spices - complex, not too much heat but always there in the background. There were plenty of vegetarian offerings and dal, which is good, and nothing, absolutely nothing greasy or bland. The labeling was a bit inconsistent (some were labeled, some were not), and the post-it note look has got to go back to the refrigerator door where it belongs, but the manager was almost excited to answer all my annoying questions so it wasn't a problem.

The Spinach Pakoras (deep fried fritters with chickpea flour) were the biggest hit - Red ate four or five and just about knocked me out - crunchy, spicy, powerful, almost addictive. The Chicken Tikka Masala was a head shot - creamy sauce, super tender chicken.  I want to go back and just eat myself silly on this dish alone, but they do change their offerings, so don't be disappointed - embrace change!!! I liked that they brought a big basket of buttered naan to the table (delicious!), and that the chai tea was gratis.

Two desserts - mango custard and carrot halvah

Carrot halvah is almost good for you........

Carrot halvah??? Very very sweet, scented with cardamom - this took my breath away with its simplicity - a lovely finish. The mango custard was a bit gluey, and very mild, but a smooth finish to a spicy meal isn't a bad thing.

Red definitely ate me under the table this time, but I fought back with gusto. I'm sure the next time I will demonstrate immense self-control, now that I know what I'm up against.


Zena, Goddess of Fire

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