As we have observed repeatedly, whether intentional or not, Indian restaurants tend to evoke a theme. Indian Castle (IC) is located on Mass Ave opposite a bong dispensary in the heart of the commercial black hole between Central and Harvard squares. Prior to our arrival, IC was hosting a children’s birthday party. Indeed, the restaurant staff had yet to remove residual party stars and spirals from the interior when we arrived. While these party items might suggest that IC is a family friendly restaurant, upon further inspection, we observed distinctly adult undertones. For example, the menu prominently featured the “vaggie” platter and non-“vaggie” platter. In addition, the artwork almost exclusively consisted of Krishna and one of his many (many thousands) of lady friends. Notably, all the females depictions displayed ample underboob (very dirty!).
After recovering from our initial shock, we proceeded to order. The menu declared proudly that “all spices used are natural,” and thus we did not hesitate order the vegetarian eigendish, aloo gobhi ($12), as extra extra extra spicy. We were dismayed to learn that their spices were not only natural, but lacked potency—the aloo gobhi lacked not only spice, but also any other discernable flavor. The veggie biryani ($12) sported good potato cookitude, but also appeared to be seasoned with these same tasteless “spices.” The lamb coconut korma ($14) was the lone highlight of the meal, containing well cooked lamb, and very creamy sauce. The badami naan ($4) was also quite good, containing a mix of cantaloupe and poppy seeds. The peshawari naan ($3.5), on the other hand, in addition to ample coconut, contained literally infinite sugar, making it an extreme dessert item. The meal was rounded out by the mango lassi ($3), which contained ample ice and a rich, viscous texture.
Despite bit a few critical missteps in the mains, India Castle is a solid four-samosa restaurant (▲▲▲▲) with a reasonable two-rupee (₨ ₨) price tag. In Berkeley, restaurateurs typically hid the dirtier elements in the pillow-laden back rooms; at IC, however, the sexual undercurrent is prominently on display in both the interior décor and the menu. Clearly survival on the forgotten stretch of Mass Ave requires diversification, and IC appears proud to serve customers across the age spectrum with birthday parties, Indian fare, and age-appropriate entertainment.
Note that India Castle has now closed—wherever shall we go for our “birthday parties”?