Benares, Indian Restaurant in NYC, New York

Image of Benares in NYC, New York
I am a big fan of Baluchi's, an Indian restaurant that serves fantastic and delightfully tasty Indian cuisine. So I was a bit disappointed when I saw that their Midtown location was replaced by Benares, although another Indian restaurant! Baluchi's had this great lunch deal (50% off) and an amazing crab curry that I could have eaten all day (ok, I exaggerate a bit). I heard from a former Baluchi's employee that they simply sold the place, maybe because it was not profitable enough. So, I decided to go to Benares, with an open mind...I went twice in fact!

The decor is totally different: although Balucci's has a more traditional decor, Benares looks more modern. 
Image of Benares in NYC, New York

There is no more lunch deal, but a buffet instead for close to $13. 

Image of Benares in NYC, New York
The buffet proposes approx. 9 different dishes, some vegetarian and some not. 

This is what I ate:

Gobi Masala - Cauliflower Curry
Image of Gobi Masala - Cauliflower Curry at Benares in NYC, New York
Matar Mushroom
Image of Matar Mushroom at Benares in NYC, New York
Saag Paneer -  a very common dish, I found it a bit overcooked.
Image of Saag Paneer at Benares in NYC, New York
Shrimp Moilee - Pretty good with thick sauce that had a nice flavor.
Image of Shrimp Molee at Benares in NYC, New York
Chicken Tikka Masala - This is the dish I always try in an Indian restaurant. It was just ok for me.
Image of Chicken Tikka Masala at Benares in NYC, New York
Lamb curry - I'll pass on that one! The curry had a weird taste and the lamb was tough! Not the best part used for sure!
Image of Lamb Curry at Benares in NYC, New York

Tandoori Chicken - I liked it! The chicken was well cooked, still moist and not spicy with nice flavors. It is not on the buffet table: they will bring it to your table.
Image of Tandoori Chicken at Benares in NYC, New York
Veggie Pakora - good and crispy, this is a nice appetizer.
Image of Veggie Pakora at Benares in NYC, New York
Yellow Daal (lentils) - very good: I liked the thickness of it and it was flavorful. Great vegetarian dish.
Image of Yellow daal at Benares in NYC, New York
Gulab Jamun - Gulab Jamun is my favorite dessert! It is a deep fried milk dough that is then immersed in a sugar syrup. At Benares, the consistency was perfect, but it was way too sweet!
Image of Gulab Jamun at Benares in NYC, New York
Ras Malai - It means literally Juicy Cream. It is a sweet dessert made of cheese balls (to simplify the explanation...) simmered in milk and cream. It was quite good and not too sweet.
Image of Ras Malai at Benares in NYC, New York
Naan bread - they will bring the naan bread to your table. Both times I was at Benares, the bread seemed to have been pre-made: it was a bit hard and dry. 
Image of Naan Bread at Benares in NYC, New York
I was clearly not wowed by Benares and the feedback I received from my colleagues seem to confirm the opinion I have of it. If you want to eat for less than $20 with tax and tip, this is not a bad deal, but do not expect some incredible Indian food: it is just ok and seems to be inconsistent. I wish Baluchi's was still there! Come back!

Enjoy (I barely did)!
  Benares on Urbanspoon