Updated
Mar 19th, 2019
First Posted
Jan 30th, 2019

Bombay Darbar Indian Restaurant

1521 E Las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33301
954 990-7222
Overall Rating
1.8
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
03/18/2019

Details

Hours: 11a-3p, 5p-10p
Parking: Street Metered, Garage
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
HasWifi: Yes
Outdoor: Yes

Pros

Friendly Service

Cons

Bad Parking
Overpriced Buffet Food
Creepy Ambiance

Critic's Review

Bombay Darbar is open; time for some expensive Indian food.

I hadn't been here since Thursday's first open; one of the more predictable failures in Fort Lauderdale. This place is owned by a couple of people from Long Island; a place not exactly known for Indian food.

The adventure starts out badly as the parking spaces that used to be across the street are gone; the entire block is no parking because the geniuses who run the city think a rarely used bike path is more important than parking for businesses.

They have a small outdoor space and there was a couple sitting there, so I opted to sit inside, which was probably a mistake. There was 1 couple inside (Indian food is a couple thing), and they were just finishing up. No booths in the place; I was initially seated in bench seating; when I realized I was facing a giant mirror I switched so I wouldn't have to watch myself eat. Mirrors are so 1980s.

Paper over the tablecloths, just like at Bonefish Grill. Very high end.

I ordered an iced tea and the $16.95 Lamb Roganjosh (usually Rogan Josh) lunch special; the specials include soup, rice, bread, a pastry and rice pudding; I didn't want the soup, rice,pastry or dessert but entrees don't include bread, so it would have cost me over $20 to go ala carte. The lunch is $16.95.

The decor is the same as Thursday's; if there are changes they're not very noticable. I stand by my description of Thursday's for this place:

The place is uncomfortably fancy; gaudy really. The kind of place you took your grandmother on her birthday.

I had surmised that they opened before they were really ready. They apparently just had a new window installed for the kitchen, so we can watch the chefs make the stews. There were peeling paper from the glass; because they couldn't wait until 3pm when lunch was over to do it.

Creepy Indian music fills the air. 17 minutes later, I'm still sitting at an empty table.

They're offering a 3 course lunch, how about bringing out the soup and the appetizer and the bread while waiting? It's like they have no idea how to create a dining experience. You can't even watch TV, they have Bollywood crap on every TV as if anyone wants to watch a couple frolicking with sheep.

Finally the food comes out.

A runner brought out the food, so there was no explanation of what was on the plate. What was I supposed to do with the brown liquid in the center of the tray? Who knows. I started with the soup, which I would have liked to have gotten 15 minutes earlier.

Not terrible, but not particularly interesting either. Indian food never has enough salt; just bland bean soup. Why such a small container? Are beans expensive? 4 spoonfuls and you're done.

The samosa mini was also bland; it's described as "stuffed with vegetables" but it just had some peas and brown binder. Again, not terrible not nothing I'd want more of either.

Lamb Rogan Josh is Indian Lamb Stew; lamb simmered in a yogurt, garlic tomato sauce. Even in the tiny bowl this was more a soup than a stew as they were clearly unwilling to fill the bowl with ingredients.

No onions in this dish; just meat in sauce.

Something interesting is that they took the dinner sized plate away, so there was no easy way to combine the rice and the lamb. I tried scooping some of it on the rice but it was awkward.

The dish was a bit spicy but lacked actual flavor. This could have been chuck steak in chili sauce and I couldn't have told the difference. This is exactly the stuff they have at the buffets; braised meat with a lot of gravy. Even the parsley was a half-assed chiffonade. Not what I'd expect at a high end restaurant.

Thankfully there was naan; this was also the kind of stuff you see on buffets. Naan is a leavened bread; it should almost be like pita; this was closer to an unleavened bread. Not bad but it could have used some oil or butter brushed on it.

No condiments on the table (put salt on the table so I don't have to insult you by asking for it); and I didn't see my server between taking my order and asking for the check. Just a big, cold restaurant with bad music and bad videos.

Conclusion

Trying to pass off Indian food as high-end cuisine is a tough sell; Indian cuisine is largely peasant food; soups, stews, curries and rice. You have to ask yourself why they serve a 3-4 course meal all at once and make you wait 15 minutes for it at an empty table; the answer is that the entree is such a paltry portion that they'd be embarrassed to bring it out alone.

For 40% more, you get about the same food you get at a buffet and you don't get all you can eat or any variety. Plus you get to eat in a completely empty room after 2pm. I can't think of a single reason I'd rather come here than go to a buffet.

If you watched Red Oaks, you know that Millenials consider it edgy to like Indian food, which explains many of the ranting reviews online. Unfortunately, the decor in this place is such a turn off to anyone under 70 that they may have trouble getting groups of 23yos to come here for a $20. lunch with a soft drink.

This place has a long, hot summer ahead in this location.

Comment Policy Add Comment
Larry
Reply
Lots of raving reviews online. What are the chances that they're real?
Administrator
Reply
The fact that none of them mention the price or the decor prove they're not. Then again, Indian food is like wine; people are desperate to pretend they like it even though they have no idea what they're eating.
Lori
Reply
Why is the bread extra in Indian Restaurants? Is Naan a special flour or harder to make? Every other place bread is free with a $20 entree.
Taly
Reply
Looking forward to trying Indian food glad it's coming.
Lucy
Reply
Indian Food is a hard sell at this end of the block.

Next: Times Square Pizza