Some meals start out looking promising but wind up disappointing. A recent meal at East India Co. was the opposite. Our server was friendly but inept, running to other tables halfway through questions, seemingly as clueless as we were about the description-less "House Specials" menu; she looked like a deer in the headlights when asked for recommendations. When I handed her my menu and she answered, "Arigato," I felt a sense of impending culinary doom. Yet moments later, exceptional samosas arrived at our table: crisp and airy shells cupping subtly spiced potatoes and dressed with delicious dueling squiggles of mysterious white and purple sauces. And though the lamb vindaloo was hardly "blazing" as the menu promised, its slow-burning heat was enough, without overpowering the rich red gravy's competing flavors. A biting hint of ginger cut through coral-colored butter chicken, saving it from the heaviness that is the prime pitfall of Indian food in America. When dishes did start to weigh down the palate, intense, mustard-heavy Indian pickles were the ideal antidote.
Order this: Lamb vindaloo.
Best deal: $2 for roti, and many house specials around $12.
I'll pass: Cilantro-spiked mango margarita. Too much fusion.