6092 Jericho Tpke. Commack, NY 631-462-0003
Under soft lighting and surrounded by colorful murals that depict simple times and musical festivities, this restaurant provides both a comfortable setting and an extremely diverse selection. Vegetarian options are abundant, and protein options span bird and maritime meats to goat and lamb in dozens of tandoori, masala, vindaloo and curry preparations. The lunch buffet includes chicken tikka masala, tandoori chicken and dal (lentils), along with gulab jaman (honey balls) for dessert.Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Ambience: Good Service: Very Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: One-level dining room.
The spice route now threads through Commack. Here, the seasoned Kiran Palace group opens its third restaurant; the modest spot gives off sparks. The other branches are in Hicksville, Long Island's capital of Indian cooking; and in Selden, one of its outposts. The latest takes over the shopping-center storefront of Tian Tian, a dreary Chinese eatery, and turns it into a little destination.
The newest Kiran Palace is a very good address for vegetarians. You can pick at random from the specialties. Standouts include dal makhni, or simmered black lentils with a garnish of coriander; aloo gobi, potatoes and cauliflower, finished with ginger, onion and tomatoes; chana masala, a mild chickpea number; and dahiwala baigan, or eggplant spurred with spiced yogurt and curry leaves. The vegetable biryani, subtly seasoned and tinted with saffron, also is worth sampling. Samosas, the pastry pyramids filled with either potatoes and peas or with ground chicken, are mellow alternatives. The kitchen sends out a moist, textbook-red tandoori chicken and does equally well with tandoori shrimp, chicken tikka and the chicken seekh kebab, with chicken and nuts. To up the BTUs, consider either chicken or lamb vindaloo. Kiran Palace ignites the food on a 1-to-10 scale. They mean it, too. Cool off with one of the savory breads or some rice; mango chutney or raita, the yogurt-based salad; and maybe a mango lassi, the refreshing yogurt drink that could double as dessert.
Lobster vindaloo arrives a bit overcooked. Likewise, shrimp curry, vegetable cutlets and pakoras, or batter-dipped vegetable fritters. Routine rice pudding, the carrot sweet called gajar halwa, and ice cream.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A full-flavored passage.