Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bollywood Theater

3010 SE Division & 2039 NE Alberta Street
Happy Hour Wishlist

Bollywood Theater does not offer happy hour. There are no discounts if you show up for an early dinner. But the prices are low all of the time. And getting there before the normal dinner hour means avoiding a long line. That's savings in its own.

I'm not sure what took me so long to make it to Bollywood Theater. (Maybe because they don't offer an official happy hour?) When I finally did, however, I was so impressed that I went back for more within days. Two days, I think. Maybe three. It's just that good.

The menu at Bollywood Theatre is long and includes street food, small plates, Thali meals, and sides. The most expensive item--seafood, of course--is just $16.50. The majority of the plates are between six and eight bucks. During our first visit, we had the Pav Bhaji ($6.50), a Kati Roll ($8.50), and the Trio of Chutneys ($2.50). Since then, I've learned that both the Vada Pav ($3.25) and the Beets ($6) are a must with every visit.

Although I am still working to try every single vegetarian option on their menu, I am most impressed with the Kati Roll. Available with chicken, paneer cheese or beef, the Kati Roll is big enough to make into a meal but also easy enough to share if you want a little more variety. The flatbread is grilled perfectly and the extras--both pickled onion and green chutney--add flavor and crunch that work so well with the main ingredients.

Pav Bhaji--also known on the menu as "bread and vegetables"--is a small plate of potatoes, veggies, tomatoes and spices that have been cooked long enough to allow the flavors to work together and really make a statement. Served with buttered rolls that have been grilled just long enough to give them the structure they need to carry the veggies from plate to mouth (because the spoon is just for show), this simple dish is one that will leave a lasting impression.

The Trio of Chutneys is served with plenty of Pappadums and varies in flavor from sweet to spicy. You're likely to love one (if not all three) as a snack prior to the rest of your meal being ready or as an added accompaniment to the other plates.

There are a number of drinks available on the menu--including a Pimm's Cup, Gin and Tonic, Kabhi Kabhie (made with bacardi, campari, pineapple juice, a little biters and some fresh lime juice)--but I love their ginger lime soda so much that I've ordered it every time.

Like so many Portland establishments, this one requires you to order and pay before finding a seat AND help out in the end by bussing your own table. It might not be your favorite style of service, but it's not too difficult to navigate if you go in knowing what to expect.

Food: Exceeds
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets (I especially love the bathroom decor at the Division location.)
Value: Meets


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