Appetizers: 4/5 | Mains: 5/5 | Service: 4.5/5| Ambiance: 4.5/5 | Overall: 5/5
I’ve been to Vij’s on several occasions over the past year and the experience has been the same each time: Indian food heaven! The dishes here are not the ones you would expect at a traditional Indian restaurant — Vij’s is no traditional Indian restaurant. I’m skeptical when restaurants play with well-established and accepted dishes, but Vij’s innovation and creativity yielded exceptional results.
My favourite at Vij’s is, without a doubt, the Demerara sugar and tamarind marinated beef tenderloin with black cumin curry and khoa paranta. The beef is incredibly tender and flavourful. It will melt in your mouth. Your palate will be in heaven.
The Wine marinated lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry on spinach potatoes is also a top dish among those I’ve sampled from friends, though I’ve never ordered it for myself.
The appetizers are tasty, but the mains (especially the beef tenderloin above) will blows them away! I’m not too keen on the Grilled sablefish in tomato-yogurt broth. We were dissappointed to find only a few bite-sized pieces (for $11.50) which is not an ideal choice if you intend to share (just might barely work for 2 people, but definitely not more). The Mutton kebobs with bengali curry were much better.
They don’t have an extensive wine list, but do have about a dozen reliable choices.
The service is friendly and courteous. On one occasion, I was almost given the wrong dish (in a group of 6) but the waiter was quick enough to pick up my cues and direct it to the right person. I’ve generally been very pleased with their service.
Other / Ambiance
Vij’s does not take reservations and it will be packed virtually every night of the week. Most of the time I arrived there after 6:30pm and had to wait between 30 mins to 90 minutes to be seated. Weekdays are usually at the lower range of the scale (our group of 6 was seated in about 45 mins on a Thursday), 90 mins was for a group of 4 on a Saturday.
The waiting area is inside the restaurant at the back near the bar. They will bring around free finger food for you to sample and chai while you wait. You can also order drinks from the bar.
Attention to detail is evident in their selection of decor and lighting which echoes their comtemporary and innovative approach. The elephant shapes on the light shades which project interesting patterns on the surroundings are a nice touch. It can be slightly noisy at times (because it is always packed and people are obviously enjoying themselves), but there are a few quiter spots (then again, you’ll need to wait for these as you cannot call ahead to reserve).
Vij’s is a must for anyone with an interest in Indian cuisine. As they occasionally rotate their menu items, you might find something new when you return (and you will return). Don’t worry, their anchor dishes will remain.