Dining Out at Curry Bowl in Folsom
1870 Prairie City Road, Suite 500, Folsom, 916-467-7675, currybowlrestaurant.com
I need new friends—or at least friends with a broader palate who have the ability to drop whatever they’re doing and join me for lunch at previously unknown (to me), untested restaurants. And they should have a robust knowledge of Indian food too, because it’s frustrating trying to get someone to join me for a steamy bowl of aloo gobi or korma. Piqued your interest?
One of those formerly foreign destinations on my radar was Curry Bowl in Folsom. As I entered, I was shown the buffet table—which looked fresh and ample—but opted to order from their menu instead. I followed my instinct as I selected chillibajji (basically a battered and fried chili pepper). As to the type of pepper, research tells me it’s a mirchi—two to three inches long and somewhat similar to a Japanese shiso. Cut into pieces after being battered and fried, it was served with a slightly sweet tamarind chutney and a savory mint-chili chutney. As my attentive server, Frank, explained, “Chillibajji is a good conversation starter for the table.”
Next, I stayed in the spice lane with the very, very large, Curry Bowl special: spicy dosa. This flaming rice crepe—its insides lightly covered in chili paste and stuffed with potato curry—lapped over both sides of the serving plate. Tearing pieces of the delicate, fiery dosa off and plunging them into one of the accompanying, cooling chutneys left me longing for more.
At this point, I deviated and went all in on chicken tikka masala and garlic naan. Sometimes sticking with the “norm” has its dividends. This is the combination all entry-level Indian food newbies should start with. The tikka masala “gravy” was a succulent, mouthwatering amalgamation of garlic, ginger, turmeric, and garam masala in a creamy tomato-based sauce. Paired with the fragrant garlic naan, it’s unimaginable that anyone could pass up an opportunity to enjoy one of the world’s most popular Indian dishes.
As I considered the wisdom of finishing with a homemade dessert (I couldn’t possibly though; I didn’t even have room for a mint), I once again pondered the folly of my reluctant friends. Spice is the variety of life…don’t miss out.
Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (daily)
TRY THIS: Chicken 65, Garlic Naan, Chillibajji, Spicy Dosa, Pani Puri, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Vindaloo, Vegetable Biryani, Channa Masala, Tandoori Chicken
DRINKS: No alcohol
HEADS-UP: Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m.; daily lunch buffet from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Tuesday Chaat Night from 4-7 p.m.; all-you-can-eat dosas on Thursdays from 6-9:30 p.m.; Sunday Bollywood Movie Night from 5-9 p.m.; catering available; vegan and gluten-free options
By Lorn Randall
Photos by Menka Belgal