New in Town: India Bistro

A Plainfield strip-mall addition surprises with refined Indian flavors and an inviting atmosphere.

The menus at most Indian restaurants can be daunting. Do you get the chicken curry or the lamb tikka masala? The house-special biryani or the vegetable korma? Deciding from more than 60 northern-Indian specialties while standing at the counter of India Bistro, a Plainfield walkup that opened in late March, can leave you wishing you could try it all. Better, perhaps, to come back at lunch, when you can choose five or six items from a bubbling-hot steam table—less a buffet, really, than the line at your school cafeteria (if you moved it to New Delhi). Thankfully, this place, with its tiny fireplace nook for lounging, exposed ductwork, and serpentine wall of raw-wood cutouts, has none of the dusty, faux formality found at many international spots. Instead, a mix of high tables and sleek wood-backed bistro chairs pairs with a trio of TVs above the counter with ordering instructions. Starters include two chaat (traditional street food) options, as well as samosas, chicken wings, and curious Chinese-inspired dishes such as pakora Manchurian, vegetable dumplings tossed in a tangy sweet-and-sour sauce. Plentiful goat and lamb entrees include goat mughlai, cubes of tender meat with mushrooms and herbs in a creamy sauce that would be equally at home on a Parisian table. Traditional aloo gobhi offers substantial chunks of caramelized cauliflower and potatoes, though this version wanted for a bit of salt. A deeply smoky undertone of grilled eggplant in the baingan bhartha made the dish a hit. The somewhat awkward self-service nature of the place is easy to overlook with a menu so fresh and a strip-mall atmosphere so unexpected. 130 N. Perry Rd., Plainfield, 317-742-7300,
This article appeared in the August 2014 issue.