We barely had room for dessert, gulab jamun-fried breadlike balls in syrup and a super sweet but toothsome rice pudding sprinkled with pistachios. Service was solicitous throughout; we sipped piping hot chai and continued to dish until closing time, never feeling rushed.
A second dinner knocked me off my cloud. With a full dining room on a busy Friday, we sat for twenty minutes without so much as a hello from our waiter. That night much of the food was mediocre (mushy samosas and a charred Bombay grill platter), with the notable exception of finely tuned fish vindaloo, whose nuanced sauce tickled with vinegar and hot chilies. But I'm going to chalk that one up to the restaurant's having been open a scant six weeks. I'm still rooting for Mahek, which has shown it can be a deliciously talented newcomer.
212 East Washington 994-5972
Lunch buffet daily 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner Mon.-Fri. 5-10 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 3-10 p.m.
Lunch buffet $7.95; appetizers $2.95-