Although in Puerto Rico, you will not find an Indian restaurant scene like the ones in New York City or London, two months ago India House opened on Roosevelt avenue.
The restaurant only opens Monday to Friday for lunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Indian chef serves the customers with the help of a kind waiter.
India House makes authentic Indian food and is a special option in San Juan for those who truly love Indian gastronomy.
When I arrived, the chef nicely asked me in English whether I was a vegetarian or not, and proceeded to tell me to take a seat. I was initially confused because I was waiting for a server but, after a few minutes, I realized that India House only serves one kind of dish daily.
The place looks like a fast food restaurant with Top 40 music but, as soon as you open the restaurant door, the flavorful aromas of the spices take you on a nonstop trip to India.
The concept is more of a grab and go, fast food restaurant, ideal for workers who want something out of the box for lunch. For only $8.99 you can have a full meal and a bottle of water.
The day that I visited India House, they served a delicious basmati rice with chickpeas. The rice was infused with black pepper, cloves and a little bit of cinnamon; it was really tasty.
The black lentils and chickpeas were flavorful and the potato bhujia was a little bit spicy.
After I ate the stewed potatoes, I searched for bhujia on an Indian gastronomy glossary. I discovered that they usually have chana dal, powdered cellulose, red chili, black pepper, cardamom, cloves and groundnut oil.
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The chicken curry, which is a traditional Indian plate, was one of the best I have ever tried. The diced chicken was tender and flavorful. As an Indian food lover, I was ready to eat more. I’d been hungry for the kind of Indian food made with care but no pretense, seasoned for people who love the interplay of spices and presented without apology in all its brown and yellow colors.
The dish included a delightful flat Indian bread confectioned with butter and honey. The bread is made in house and arrives warm at the table in a little basket. It tastes delicious alone or with the black lentils or chickpeas.
When you arrive, an English-speaker server brings you an extensive and mouthwatering menu
The chef told me that the basmati rice and flour used for the Indian bread is imported directly from India.
Because it was my first time at the restaurant, the friendly chef gave me an Indian sweet pudding as a courtesy. The dessert was creamy with carrots, half and half, condensed milk, saffron and a shower of ground pistachios that added a rich toasted texture to every bite.
The restaurateur expressed enthusiasm for the sweet casserole.The service at India House is excellent, even for people like me who ask about what every dish is made off.
The restaurant, located in the Borinquen Towers Shopping Center, is surrounded by fast food establishments and Puerto Rican cafés, so it can be considered an oasis for the palate. Borinquen Towers has ample parking. I hope India House starts to open for dinner and weekends soon, for those who do not have time to go there during lunch.
India House is located at 1484 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Ave., Borinquen Towers, San Juan. (787) 728-1333.