In theory, this should be a really short review, as this place could be summed up in five simple words: “it’s fricken’ delish…go now!” But (just because I like you guys), I will go ahead and elaborate a tad.
When it comes to restaurants, Columbus, GA has not always been known for its variety. However, I can proudly say that the city is becoming more diverse than ever, and luckily we have places like Taj Mahal to reflect that. Taj Mahal offers a plethora of authentic Indian cuisine, via an affordable lunch buffet ($8.95). You also have the option of ordering from the menu, if desired, and they’re open for dinner, as well.
I’ll be the first to say, I am not a huge fan of buffets, mainly because I don’t like the concept of droves of people touching and/or breathing over my food. Luckily, the few times I have dined here, the crowd was fairly modest, with no random kids running rampant and sneezing over the food. This, paired with the overall cleanliness of this establishment, greatly assuages my buffetphobia.
As I mentioned, there’s a decent array to choose from, so I’ll just briefly highlight a few of my faves. There’s white rice and vegetable rice… I’m particularly down with the veggie. I totally dig the Chicken Tikka Masala in all its exotic spiciness, as well as the Tandoori Chicken, which is marinated in yogurt and reminds me of barbecue-grilled chicken with its tasty blend of “special herbs and spices.” Curried chicken is an obvious classic, and is also worth a nibble. There’s also spicy noodles, samosas, veggie sides, salad, and an assortment of chutney (yumyumsauce). Today, I tried the Tamarind chutney, and it gave a nice additional kick to my curried chicken. To round it all off, fresh hot naan is brought out at the beginning of the meal, and the servers kindly offer more, if your basket’s in need of a little more flatbread deliciousness.
The staff here is fairly friendly, and quietly attentive. There’s some interesting cultural art on the walls, and Indian music videos provide the soundtrack. (I was quite amused today to find that autotuned vocals have made their way to India). Luckily, most of the music is enjoyable, and the videos are fun to watch… when you’re not busy devouring naan or Tikka Masala. I usually go right when they open at 11:30 (when the food is fresh and hot) to beat the lunch crowd. But, besides a moderate group of military guys here and there (which seems to be a staple), I have yet to have seen this hidden-gem super-crowded.
4/5 (Pull up a chair and dig in).
Taj Mahal Restaurant is located at:
2009 Auburn Ave.
Columbus, GA 31906