Gem of India (The Gem)

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Today was lunch with Danny, Steve at the Gem of India.  This is another one of our regular haunts – sometimes we end up there once a week for lunch.

For lunch the Gem (we call the place the ‘Gem’ for short) has an all you can eat buffet (7.95).  They usually have 6 or 7 entrees available plus salad, appetizers & dessert.

If you are not familiar with Indian food and associate it with ‘curry’ you need to know that in India ‘curry’ is a name for gravy and doesn’t necessarily mean any particular type of taste or spice.  Check out this wiki for more information about Indian Food.  There is a big variety of different tastes in the various dishes at the Gem and they typically are not spicy-hot.  That said, the spices they use are different than anything else you are likely to find in Springfield – and are generally quite yummy.

For those of you that have been around long enough – the Gem is located on Battlefield where Johnny Lou’s used to be – the inside of the Gem still looks a bit like it did in the Johnny days, but there are many Indian touches throughout now.

Today, on the buffet we lucked out and they had all of our favorites (kinda unusual to have some many of our favorites one a single day) including:

Chicken Tikka Masala – white meat chicken chunks baked in the tandoor oven, then mixed in a cream-based mildly spiced sauce – this is one of my favorites and a good choice for a beginner at Indian food.

Chicken Curry – boneless chicken cooked in a thick sauce.  None of us cared for this one today – usually it is pretty good, but not as good as the Tikka Masala.

Lamb Vindaloo – lamb chunks cooked in a spicy-hot red sauce.  I don’t like lamb – so I stay away from this dish.

Navratan Korma – Nine different vegetables cooked in a wonderful cream-based sauce.  This is our group’s favorite dish and another great choice for beginners.  We call it Nine Veg..

Bhindi – Okra and onions sauteed with spices.  There is no sauce on this one but it is another one of my favorites – the okra is cooked well done and the spices add a really great flavor.

Chole Saag – Chickpeas, spinach, onions, cooked in spices with chunks of homemade cheese.  Don’t let the looks of this dish turn you off.  It is another one of our favorites – the homemade cheese is in little cubes and taste really good.

Chicken Tandorri – this is chicken on the bone coated in a yogurt & spice mixture then grilled in the tandorri oven – the coating is red.  I don’t like anything on a bone, so I stay with the other choices, but the other guys like this.

Vegetable Samosa – from the appetizer selections, this is my favorite.  Potatoes, peas and spices wrapped up in a pastry shell, then deep fried.  Yummm.  I usually put a mixture of their green and brown sauce on top of this.

Desert – you have to try the following.  1) Get a big soup bowl, 2) fill big soup bowl 1/2 to 2/3 full of the rice pudding 3) Add a dollop of Mango pudding, 4) add 1 to 3 honey balls (Gulab Jamun).  Eat!   The honey balls are like nothing you will find anywhere else – think sweet doughballs fried then soaked until soft in a sweet honey sauce.  The rice pudding is always tasty – and putting it all together elevates each component into something more than its parts.  Usually the rice pudding is thick and rich – today it was too thin.

So that’s a run down on the food – like I said we really like the food here and come back often.  Since it is all you can eat, I’m usually suffering by the time I finish because of eating too much.

Not all is rosy however, consistency is something that varies from visit to visit.  We have noticed that the same dishes do not always taste the same from time to time and are sometimes just not as good as others.  The sauces are thicker & thinner or the spice mix is not the same.  For example, the Chicken Tikka Malasa was a bit different than usual, the chicken curry flavors were off, and the rice pudding was way too thin today (but still tasty).

Service is generally ok – but there isn’t much to it since it is a self serve buffet – however if you order a drink other than water you usually have to flag someone down and ask for refills.  I opted for water today because I didn’t want to deal with trying to get refills of my usual Diet Coke.  Today’s service was ok with the server keeping up with our water consumption.

We don’t go here for dinner since we really like the variety on the buffet (although there is a Monday night buffet for dinner).

Overall this is one of our favorite places for lunch.

211 W. Battlefield -(417) 881-9558

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