Continuing with my "lunch in Reston" theme, I thought I would talk a little about a couple Indian Buffets that I enjoy in Reston.
The first is Minerva. Well, I guess it's not exactly Reston, but I'll be honest, Virginia confuses the hell out of me. If I move there, I'll have to buy a GPS Nav System because I have no clue where I'm going when I'm across the river. Minerva has a very large buffet, with a whole section of chutneys and raita, five or six vegetarian curries, and five or six chicken and lamb entrees. The tandoori chicken is as better than you'll find most any buffets, and they had some seriously good paneer makhani. Two kinds of bread, naan and paratha, also help me rank Minerva high in my Indian buffet experiences. They even keep a pitcher of water on the table so you don't have to worry about running out of water.
The second is a place called Mayuri Indian Cuisine. Like Minerva, they have a very good selection of entrees at the buffet, although they lose points for the butter chicken. Butter chicken is a major no-no when it comes to Indian buffets. However, it's close to where I work and not terribly crowded, unlike Minerva. Plus the tandoori chicken is equally good as Minerva's, and the chili chicken is spicy enough to make me drink a sip of water after each bite. I go back just for this dish.
Of course, don't be surprised if you feel like cattle in these places. The servers' job is to get you in, get you full, and get you out so someone else can sit down. I can't blame them really. Buffets are an extremely low margin business for a restaurant, and if they don't do a lot of volume, they don't make much on them. But for the price, you can't really beat either Minerva or Mayuri.
But I'm always open to suggestions for alternatives...