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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Peacock

This past Friday I met Mr. Wilson and Mr. T and BeerOrKid at The Peacock for lunch. Mr. T might post some photos since he took a few after an awkward moment with the owner in which he tried to explain why he wanted to take pictures of food. I'm not sure how well pictures of Indian buffet would look anyway. We'll see.

As for the restaurant, I've been there for lunch a couple of times since they opened in late December but not for a couple of months. In December the lunch buffet was $10.99 much to my chagrin. I wasn't expecting that since the place was new and the buffet and the whole operation seemed pretty haphazard. In late January I went there again and lunch was $7.99. That seemed more reasonable considering it's lunchtime and most Indian food is made of some of the cheapest ingredients you can buy. On Friday the lunch buffet was again $10.99. We were all pretty surprised, especially after I'd assured everyone that it was less than that. That was probably the last time I eat lunch at The Peacock. $10.99 for a lunch buffet in Lincoln, NE, is pretty outrageous.

Their buffet is still poorly laid out even after three months. There are shelves of random plates and bowls off to the left and slightly below the buffet. Would it kill them to set up a small table with the plates and bowls on it right there at the buffet? Even Acapulco has figured that out.

The food, despite everything else, was pretty good and the buffet featured a few dishes you won't get at Lincoln's other Indian restaurants. You won't find mulligatawny on the buffet here but you will be able to grab a bowl of sambar which is perfect for dipping idli (a steamed lentil and rice patty) or vada (spicy lentil donuts). There was also a spicy cabbage dish (no name so no link) that was really good and a fish curry I thought was terrific. The other guys said it was too fishy but I didn't notice that at all. It was a basic curry sauce with pieces of white fish. I think what impressed me about the fish was how tender and firm it was - not overcooked and not mushy.

The standout dish this time was a creamy saag (spinach and/or mustard greens) preparation with green beans. I thought of the creamed spinach you can still get in old-fashioned steakhouses but it was better with the Indian spices and the tamarind rice as a base. Other than that, there was tandoori chicken (wings and legs only), a chicken curry that was really heavy on the cinnamon (not good or bad, just different compared to what I've had before) and something I've never, ever seen before - Indian quesdillas - very finely chopped veggies (carrots, peppers), spices and cheese grilled between pieces of naan.

There was also a nice dessert that I'd never had and I don't recall the name and I can't find it on the internets. It had the flavor and texture of baklava but it was orange, and made of little tubes of dough shaped into spirals. It was super rich like I was almost eating straight ghee with a little sugar and almond flavor.

I really want to like The Peacock, and I mostly do, but I can't justify spending $10.99 for lunch there unless it's a special occasion which doesn't come up at lunchtime very often. It would be nice if they made the dosa portion of their menu available for lunch. Oh, well. Based on the lunch crowd, they're doing pretty well but I wonder for how long.

UPDATE: Mr. T. calls me a fat john and explains the price difference. I guess The Peacock now considers Friday a weekend day since they're closed on Sundays. If tandoori chicken is the difference it's a pretty poor excuse for a three dollar price hike. I'd expect to see mint chutney and samosas on the buffet along with everything else for eleven bucks.


Blogger Wisco said...

Me and my wife both loved Peacock when we went for dinner but I see what your saying about a $10.99 LUNCH.

Good review as usual.

1:50 AM  
Anonymous Mr. T said...

Once you put it that way, I agree. For $10.99 it was lacking. In previous cities I have lived in they have had samosas, tandoori chicken, several veggie and fish curries, and even dosas or dahl for buffets around the $6.99 or $7.99 level.

Fat john...heh heh..

8:29 PM  
OpenID mediawench said...

Nice to have you back!

I think The Peacock shines more at dinner- especially in their South Indian dishes, which are hearty and spicy, in a way that Punjabi food isn't. Not better, just different, with a more up-front spiciness and fruitiness. Oh, and those dosas are incredible!

12:02 PM  

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