Get a Taste of Montana's Most Flavorful Indian Food At India Grill
The parking lot is empty at 1:00 pm on a Monday afternoon, most people have already eaten lunch during this time of day. I pull into the lot of India Grill with a bump to my fender from the steep incline of the sidewalk. My tummy rumbles and I turn off my engine. Colt 45 stops mid rap and I chuckle to myself. I observe the restaurant's dark grey exterior, the vibrant purple and yellow/gold sign with the words India Grill sits over the walkway. I get out of my vehicle and walk up to establishment's entry, finding myself extremely curious about what I will find inside. I walk in to the sound of crackling Bollywood music and an empty dining room. Surprised, yet slightly relieved, I proceed to move closer to the register sitting near the entry and stand there for a couple of minutes. I can't hear any voices other than those of the Bollywood singers. At this point, I start to think there is no one here, but suddenly a gentleman appears out of nowhere.
He asks me if I would like the lunch buffet. Not really in the mood for a buffet that had probably been sitting there for a hot minute, I request the dinner menu. It seems to upset the gentleman, but he gives me a menu and offers to let me sit anywhere I like. I chose a corner booth that holds a nice view of the entryway, the entire dining room and part of the kitchen. The entire place is spotless. Before I can even begin to think about what I want to order, my server appears. She is middle-aged and beautiful. She prompts me to order a beverage so I hastily request water and a coke. I manage to ask her for the lentil soup to start before she whisks away. I read the extensive menu with excitement. The entree sections include beef, chicken, lamb, seafood, Biriyani, Tandoori, and much more. Making a decision is difficult but I settle on an item just in time. The waitress returns with my water and coke and asks me for the rest of my order, I order the Lamb-Briyani with Raita. She scurries off.
Moments later, I hear the fry pan sizzling and the sound of fryer waves as the food is tossed in smooth loops in and out of the pan. The phone rings a few times, the sizzling becomes more consistent as the phone is answered. My server's (and apparently cook's as well) voice can be heard along side with the sound of cooking food. She speaks in a foreign language with eloquence and ease, leading me to believe that language to be her first. I find it odd for her to be speaking on the phone while cooking but am equally pleased when I realize it does not impede her speed or skills. She brings the soup out first and quickly warns me that it's extremely hot. I go to take my first sip and my eyes focus on the large amount of steam rising from the soup. Never in my life have I eaten soup as delicious as this. It is heavy enough to warm my tummy before the main course but light enough so that I still have room. I had asked for medium spice, but when I return I will now know to ask for hot. Although the soup is absolutely amazing with every spice expertly melded together and concentrated in every bite, I would have loved for it to be spicier...mainly because I go crazy for spicy food, but that's just me.
The waitress rings the main dish out the moment she is finished cooking it. I am about halfway through my soup at this point and extremely happy to set that aside to dig into the heaping pile of curry seasoned rice, lamb and veggies. I catch whiffs of curry, parsley, cumin, etc. So many wonderful spices all blended together to create a heaping meal of deliciousness. Every bite of lamb falls apart in my mouth with juicy ease. I revel in the flavors that settle on my taste buds. Every bite carries steam, meat and rice. I dig into the platter with a forced patience, wanting to savor every bite rapidly, yet the food fills every craving to such perfection that I want more the second my chewing ceases. As I continue to enjoy my meal, the pitcher of water my server had kindly left on the table empties. I take a sip with every bite, and some coke every now and then. I drink a lot when I am eating, a little too much sometimes. The moment my pace grows lethargic, my server silently appears with the check and rapidly asks if I would like a box. We laugh together for a short moment over the amount of food left on my plate (even though I fee, as if I have eaten a mountain), and she scuttles away to grab me the perfect sized box.
Everything is excellent, yet I must say that the service is very abrupt and if you are looking for a genteel server, make sure to take a second look before seating. Despite me being the only person in the restaurant, I am rushed to order and even finish my meal. The short conversation or vocal exchange between myself and the server although pleasant, is been a bit abrupt for my taste.
The restaurant is elegant and quaint. It is very clearly a place to go during the evening rather than for lunch. When walking in, you see napkins neatly folded to fit perfectly in their water glasses and spotless wooden floors beneath darkly stained, wood tables. This Billings hot spot offers the comforts of a high class eatery yet with reasonable prices. The atmosphere is calm and quiet. Apart from the server's rapid in-a-hurry manner, everything is peaceful. I am left to eat my food in silence which to me is extremely comforting. I am not constantly harassed with dessert menus or upsetting promotional offers. Instead, my meal is a relaxing one spent in the depths of my own mind as I enjoy the calm that surrounds me. The yellow walls and large windows brighten up what would typically be a darker room. It is not a painful brightness though, but rather the perfect setting of light.
All in all, I've thoroughly enjoyed my experience in this local Indian Restaurant. The location is ideal, with it being directly off 24th St. and Broadwater Ave, and every time I visit, the food is extremely hot and incredibly flavorful. It is very clear that everything is prepared fresh – except maybe the buffet. I personally have never eaten from it, however I know some who have and claimed it was not the most enjoyable. Having ordered off the dinner menu every time, I have received excellent sustenance.
I highly recommend India Grill, if not for the experience (which is still pretty amazing), then most certainly for the food. P.S. I love it so much that writing this review has actually been difficult since it is nearly 2:00 am and all I want to do now is go purchase some food from India Grill! It has quickly become one of my late night cravings. I love their food, and the atmosphere the restaurant provides. I am addicted to the lentil soup and am planning on trying every single item on the menu.
Next time you're in Billings and craving a little taste of India, be sure to stop by the India Grill and order yourself one of their savory specialty dishes!