*EDIT* Veranda has closed it's doors for 'remodeling' for several months now. I was told on the phone that they would reopen in May, but sadly no new of it coming back. I have a feeling that we'll never taste Veranda Indian Cuisine again. If anyone know different, please let me know.
Veranda Indian Cuisine
3310 Troup Highway
Tyler, TX 75701
Veranda is located inside the Ramada, just north of the loop off of Troup Highway. They offer a lunch buffet and I am assuming a dinner service (I have yet to dine here during the evening). The only other Indian restaurant in town was Namaste Bombay Brassiere which has since closed its doors. The restaurant isn't very visually stunning to be nice. There is a hotel bar with 10 tables or so with a buffet line set up. The view is the hotel pool. I think the lunch buffet was around 8-9 bucks (no drink included).
The spread: For lunch they had a decent sized buffet. There are some dessert type items to include a couple of types of pudding and fruit. The entrees available consisted of a spicy cabbage salad, basmati rice, chicken birayni (chicken and rice with spices), butter chicken (chicken with spicy cream sauce), goat curry, tandoori chicken, a lentil preperation and a vegetarian dish that I think was palak paneer (cottage cheese cubes in spinach sauce). They also had a warm sweet carrot dish for dessert (gajar halwa?). They also served hot naan to your table. I didn't see a menu, but I know they also do a mango lassi (mango yogurt drink).
The verdict: Well, I have to say that I didn't have high hopes when I walked in. It was close to peak lunch hours and there was a family of 6-8, and two other couples in the restaurant, usually a bad sign. The food was sensational. Everything I tasted was perfectly cooked and spiced. I think they 'dumbed' down the heat level a little bit in the meat dishes, but the dishes had a strong heat level without being overbearing. The naan was hot, crispy and chewy - perfect for sopping up any leftover curry/sauce. My favorite was the goat curry, bones and all - it just hit the spot for me as I love it when a cheap, tough cut of meat gets turned into savory melt in your mouth goodness. The tandoori chicken was also a pleasant surprise as I usually find it bland, but they cooked it perfectly with the right amount of spices and smoke. I was once again blown away by the quality of indian food, right here in Tyler. An additional surprise was the sweet carrot dish, it reminded me of sweet potatoes served dessert style at Thanksgiving.
Edible Tyler Roses: 5 out of 5, rare gem of great food and reasonable prices. I will have to go back during an evening dining service.