Above: Fresh and flavorful Indian cuisine is the hallmark of a lunch buffet at Paradise Biryani Pointe in West Des Moines.
By Wini Moranville
Generally, I’m not a fan of buffets. However, the mini-but-mighty lunch buffet at Paradise Biryani Pointe is one I’ll gladly return return to whenever I’m in the Jordan Creek area.
For $9.95 Tuesdays through Thursdays and $10.95 Fridays through Sundays, you can spoon up as much as you want of the five or so appetizers and the 10-plus main dishes. A couple of simple desserts (including a choice of ice creams from a scoop-it-yourself cooler) and plenty of puffy, tuggy naan bread complete the feast.
I’ve learned that tandoori chicken and chicken tikka masala are almost always on the buffet, while most of the other Indian dishes rotate in and out. On my recent visit, I spotted those standbys along with chicken biryani, goat curry and a good number of vegetable-based dishes, including sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew) and cabbage and beet root poriyal (roughly, a stir-fry).
Everything was fresh and flavorful, but for me, it was all about the condiments. The six bright, colorful sauces, which you can generously ladle from deep, cooled pans, make everything on the plate come alive. Standouts included a creamy coconut chutney, the vibrant-green mint chutney, a tangy tomato chutney, peanut sauce and raita, that ever-popular cooling agent made of cucumbers, yogurt and a handful of seasonings.
With tablecloths under glass and a simple but color-splashed decor, the strip-mall venue is pleasant, though probably not the kind of place you’d take your mother for a birthday lunch. But if you, like me, seek vivid and varied flavors among the sea of restaurants that trade on predictability, this is your spot.
Paradise Biryani Pointe is at 6630 Mills Civic Parkway, No. 3102; 515-225-2024; dsmparadise.com.
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.