Lose some, win some. Last August the original Bombay Bowl in Englewood closed rather than pay a rent increase, but the remaining Denver location was recently featured in the the New York Times. And despite the off-hour of our visit -- 3:30 p.m. on a Sunday -- business was steady at the fast-casual Indian joint. Although only a few tables were occupied in the bright, cheery dining area, a steady trickle of customers kept coming through the door.
If you've been to any of Colorado's other famous fast-casual concepts -- Chipotle and Garbanzo, for example -- then you probably have a good idea how Bombay Bowl operates. The first choice is the basic type of meal: plate, bowl, sandwich or salad. These can be ordered with Bombay chicken, grilled chicken, braised beef (which seems a little weird in a restaurant named Bombay Bowl, but whatever), tofu or veggies. There's also a smaller meal option centered on the eatery's appetizers. It's a good idea to plan your first order here in advance -- the website has a complete list of ingredients and allergen information -- because while the friendly people behind the counter are always happy to point out vegetarian and vegan options, that way you won't be holding up the line.
We ordered both our meals as plates. The first was tofu -- lightly fried and served in crispy cubes that featured a creamy interior inside those six golden-brown walls -- with rice, spiced veggies, Tikka sauce and chili-lime chutney, plus a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro. The chili-lime chutney packs a spicy punch, so be wary when ordering it; the person assembling your meal will gladly put it on the side.
For a fully vegan meal (the Tikka sauce has dairy), we went with the tofu, spiced chickpeas, rice, korma (a sweet coconut sauce that's mildly spiced) and tamarind chutney, which has a sweet, tangy flavor. For a little extra kick, each table has a container of a spicy mix that you can sprinkle on your meal.
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On the side, you can also order naan, samosas or aloo tikki, little potato cakes that we ate up with the (yogurt-based, so non-vegan) cilantro garlic sauce.
Bombay Bowl may not cook the most authentic Indian cuisine, but it's fast, relatively cheap and definitely tasty.The tofu is particularly good, but vegetable-based meals are also available (and would probably save you some calories, too).
Bombay Bowl is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday; for more information, call 303-645-4680 or visit www.bombaybowl.com.