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Due to continuing scheduling circumstances, Adam and I hit up this week’s expedition early in the afternoon, joined by the lovely Lauren. As it turns out, this was only about 30 minutes before Panahar closed. We were concerned that this was cutting it too close, but the staff assured us we were quite welcome, and we were glad to forge ahead, since we mistakenly skipped Panahar in last week’s edition, somehow thinking it was closed on saturdays (it’s really closed on mondays, for the record). Hey, everyone gets a little mixed up sometimes!
Our greeter/waiter was exceedingly nice, and after settling us in a very atmospheric booth draped with bangladeshi- and/or indian-style fabrics (apologies to both my indian and bangladeshi friends, as I am not familiar with the differences), he asked if any of us had visited the ($9.25) lunch buffet before. When we intimated that we had not, he offered us a tour of the buffet. There was soup, a hot bar and a cold bar with salads and desserts. He explained what everything was and which sauces paired best with the hot dishes.
|Pretty gauzy curtains, well-executed color scheme, and the mirrors help the place seem more spacious.|
My first impression was that it was an extremely small buffet. But I do live in the land of excess with an incredible 74.6% of individuals being overweight or worse. Even further, I live in the 12th most obese state, so I am used to legions of shiny buffet tables stretching back to the horizon, which in truth is just not necessary for a good experience. The hot table has 8 dishes, including naan, and the cold table had cold salads, two desserts and a variety of sauces.
This turned out to be completely satisfactory, since the dishes offered were so tasty. The palak paneer – a spinach and (homemade!) cheese dish – was so heavenly that I went back for another round with a small soup bowl. All three of us really enjoyed the chicken tikka masala (one of my favorite dishes anywhere). The soup of the day was a spicy lentil-based number that Adam and I also liked. Lauren, for her part, was quite pleased that our buffet guide was able to accurately steer her clear of dishes that were too spicy for her palate. Lastly,I heartily approved of the cabbage-based dish, but I understand that most people run for the hills when they hear the word cabbage.
|I was too shy to take a shot of the buffet itself. I’ll try to be braver in the future.|
For dessert there was rice pudding and gulab jamun. I didn’t get past the gulab jamun which was very good, and a nice finish to the flavors of the meal. Lauren and Adam declared the rice pudding to be quite good. All in all, we were a pretty happy group and enjoyed our meal in this fairly cozy, pleasantly dim space.
The sub-$10 buffet is an elusive beast, usually is far less cultured and more greasy and stomach-twisting than what we encountered at Panahar. We were already quite pleased with ourselves when, upon paying for our meal, we were each presented with coupons for a free lunch buffet! Score. I was coming back anyway. (Possibly religiously.) I’d also really like to give the dinner menu a shot. Panahar gets two thumbs up, a personal recommendation from us to you, and 4.5 stars.
Panahar Bangladeshi and Indian Cuisine
3375 Buford Highway NE, Suite 1060
Atlanta, GA 30329