There is some risk in visiting a restaurant with a good reputation: Too much built-up anticipation can easily crumble into disappointment. But Bhojanic in Decatur didn't let us down at dinner last night. I've driven past Bhojanic more times than I can count, have heard great things about it for several years, and have even written about the place (after interviewing one of the owners by phone). But last night's visit was my first. It won't be my last.
The interior space has some elegant touches like white tablecloths but an overall casual vibe. The servers wear T-shirts, the food is served on metal cafeteria-style trays, some tables require wedges to keep from wobbling. And while some guests are dressed in ways that suggest that they stopped in after work, it's also apparently OK to wear sweats and a T-shirt that only covers half your enormous belly as one big dude proved last evening.
The menu presents "homestyle Indian, fusion and tapas" options. We each opted for a Thali (or combination) plate. You can chose 1 meat + 1 or 2 vegetables or make all vegetarian selections (which vary daily). We opted for 3 veggies each.
Punjabi Kardi = onion dumplings in a yogurt-based curry sauce
Chole = Garbanzo beans with fresh roasted spices
Daal Makhini = black lentils tempered with asefetida
Saag Paneer = creamed spinach with Indian cheese
Alu Gobbi = potatoes and cauliflower with ginger and tomato
Ghini Masala = sauteed okra with caramelized onions
All of these tasty dishes offered complex layers of spice. Sides of rice pullao, chapati (whole wheat flat bread), raita (cucumber yogurt sauce), papadam (crispy lentil cracker) and a small lettuce and tomato salad helped temper the heat.
Bottom Line: Clean, casual Indian restaurant with value pricing lives up to its great reputation. If you're unfamiliar with Indian cuisine, trust these friendly servers to help coordinate a tasty introduction.