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Indus in West Palm Beach offers Indian cuisine that pleases aficionados and newbies

Not far from the West Palm Beach outlets, Indus offers a wide range of dishes from the Asian Subcontinent that will please knowledgeable diners and those new to this exotic cuisine.

The food of India not overly popular across the country, appears to be gaining a foothold in South Florida.

A recent Yelp search yielded about 30 eateries in Palm Beach and Broward Counties that diners considered to be Indian.  (I’m not certain all are.) Nationally, there are more than 40,000 Chinese restaurants, over 40,000 Mexican restaurants and only around 5,000 Indian restaurants in the U.S., according to some reports.

To be sure, Indian food is a broad category covering the cuisines of the Asian Subcontinent that also includes Pakistani and Bangladeshi cooking, all similar with subtle differences. Bangladeshi cooking, we learned while dining  a few years back, in Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, tends to emphasize sweetness.

Even so, few Americans just don’t have the palate for this cuisine, viewing it as overly spicy. Well, yes, some dishes are spicy. Others, however, can be fully flavored, or surprisingly mild. A traditional Indian dish combines at least seven ingredients, so that each bite reveals different flavor combinations.  Also, Indian food preparation can be a labor intensive process that often means higher menu price points than one might figure on for an ethnic cuisine.

That said, perhaps it was the sweetness of that Bangladeshi food in England explains why my generally fussy dining companion, a/k/a my wife, was able to enjoy this cuisine for the first time. Her choice, recommended by our daughters, chicken korma, a mildly flavored dish made with cashews and coconut cream.  Now, she has little hesitancy about dining on Indian food so long as that dish is on the menu.

Inside Indus

That was the case when we stumbled upon Indus, just a stone’s throw from the West Palm Beach Outlets, while returning from a snorkeling outing at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach.  I never anticipated eating fine Indian cuisine in South Florida. But Indus, in strip center behind an office complex, proved me wrong. It offered attentive service, reasonably nice ambiance, a dining room filled with South Asians and huge portions of reasonably priced delicious, deftly seasoned fare.

At Indus, Naan breads, are fresh and yeasty. You can have them plain, buttered or as my crew prefers, Pashawari style, filled with raisins, cashews and cherries.

Chicken tikka

Biryani

Guldusta platter

Samosas, pastries filled with ground meat or vegetables, are enormous and brought to the table steaming hot. A special, Hyderabad chicken biryani, was new to me. It’s essentially a slow braised chicken topped by biryani rice (a sort of pilaf) with a spicy sauce on the side  Heat overall —I asked for 4 on their 5 point scale—was mild, though I left with a mild burning sensation on lips.

We’ve since returned several times, including a visit with cousins who never before dined on this wondrous cuisine. We kept it simple: naan, samosas, pakoras, vegetable kabors, chicken tikka, biryani and chicken korma.  They were happily surprised, I suspect, by the relative mildness of these dishes. A Guldusta platter, a plate of mixed vegetarian bites—samosas (stuffed pastries), pakoras (fried pancake-like fritters) and vegetable kabobs (croquettes of ground veggies, spices and nuts)— was an ample appetizer and was savory without being overpowering. Chicken tikka, boneless and cooked in a tandoori oven, arrived bright orange, succulent, and as requested with the mildest of spicing.

The quality of the cuisine and the decor of other Indian restaurants our parts of South Florida can vary. We’ve tried Curry & Saffron in Delray Beach, Tanjore in Boca Raton, and Aron’s, a take-out-style eatery in Coral Springs, and have been disappointed. Indus, however, able to cater to a range of palates in a pleasant environment, keeps us coming back.

Indus Indian & Herbal Cuisine

1649 Forum Place, Ste 6 & 7, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

(561) 249-0123

indusdine.com

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