If You Go
DIYA INDIAN CUISINE, 218 N. Lee St.
Hours: 11 a.m-10 p.m daily.
Grand opening: Sept. 28, 5-10 p.m.
Try this: “Normally people like the pineapple butter chicken,” said assistant manager Phurba Sherpa.
If you’re not pulled in by the small sign out front of the Crilley Warehouse at 218 North Lee St., you’ll soon be summoned by the wafting aromas of curry and Indian spices, making their way down the stairs from the second floor. Indeed, the block has a new neighbor in town: Diya Indian Cuisine.
The restaurant space won’t be a new address for many locals: The famed La Bergerie took up residence for many years until its closure in 2016. And after a yearlong process to get up and running, Diya has fired up the range once more – with a totally different cuisine.
And a varied cuisine, at that. One look at Diya’s menu and – well, you’ll probably need another look. The offerings are vast and varied, from all manner of meats to an extensive vegetarian section. And – to make your decision even more taxing – there’s also the little matter of the buffet, which sits in a room to itself, extending from wall to wall with a smattering of Indian favorites.
From butter chicken to saag paneer, it’s all there at the lunch buffet, accompanied by fluffy basmati rice and naan. The offerings switch out, but the balance of meat and vegetable items remains standard from day to day. As does the array of flavors on display. Mild, spicy or somewhere in between: It’s all there, just waiting to be cooled off – or enhanced – with some creamy raita.
Back to the menu, there are plenty of dishes just waiting to be tasted.
“We are famous for the samosa chat. … Samosa chat, when you mix it with the chickpeas, it gives it nice flavors. We put tamarind, yogurt, the mint chutney, and it gives a nice tangy flavor for us,” said assistant manager Phurba Sherpa.
Another Diya specialty is its array of biryani offerings, rice dishes that are teeming with a plethora of meat or vegetable options.
“Every biryani is good. We can’t make it mild, but we’re still trying,” Sherpa said, smiling.
Though Diya has been open since Aug. 9, its official grand opening celebration will take place later this month on Sept. 28 from 5 to 10 p.m. A special dinner version of the buffet will be offered up for $6.99, as well as a wine tasting and happy hour drink specials.
“We’re preparing a lot of things” for the celebration, says General Manager Jose Delgado. Mayor Allison Silberberg will be on hand for the ribbon-cutting, and then the party will get started.
“We’re having a raffle going on – there’s going to be a TV and a tablet and a surprise,” Delgado said, chuckling, “I don’t even know (what it is) because it’s a surprise!”
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at email@example.com.