A Slice of Fried Gold

General Bracket #1: (2) Panda vs. (7) Bombay Deluxe

Friday, March 12, 2010
Today is a battle between two more massively under represented food types in Anchorage. Well, that may not be true for one of the choices. Still, Panda is a titan of Anchorage's Chinese food scene while Bombay Deluxe is the best of the very limited selection of Indian restaurants. But which of these choices should be your choice and almost certainly is always mine? Let's find out below.

Panda: This restaurant was called by one of the Top 10 places in the country to dine by USA Today in 2005. Let that sink in. Out of the thousands (millions?) of restaurants in the country, one of the allegedly best ten in the country is a Chinese joint in Anchorage, Alaska. Now that is surprising.

Especially, when you get down to it, considering that Panda is the apex of Chinese dining in a depressingly bad Chinese city, that isn't exactly saying much. While their food is fairly good and moderately priced, nothing really stands out as remarkably good about it. A lot of coworkers order it for delivery at my office and I'm always confused as to what the horrible stench is, and then bam, it's Panda. While it's highly regarded and nearly always busy, I've never been able to figure out what the big deal is with Panda.

Bombay Deluxe: I'm going to start with a major negative: the service. The service, at times, is mean spirited. I've been there with friends before where the server will come by and we will literally fear their presence as they roll their eyes and willfully ignored us.

Past that, the food is uniformly tasty and nicely priced. The Naan (Indian bread) blows me away each and every time I have it. Their beer and wine lists are nice, and everything compliments each other very well. One of the coolest things about this restaurant is each and every time it feels like I'm having my first experience again, because I always seem to try something new (besides the Naan...which is a must). You can't say that about a lot of places, and you have to appreciate a perpetually new experience disguised as a tiny restaurant in a very random strip mall.

The Showdown: Considering I basically said I do not like Panda, it probably isn't much of a surprise that I take Bombay Deluxe. But the win isn't just because Panda is not great, it's because Bombay Deluxe (besides the service) is fantastic. It's uniformly good and often surprising. If you haven't tried it yet, get on that!


DJ Encyclopedia Brown said...

I'm sometimes confused about pains in my GI tract, and then bam, it's Panda. Seriously though - for better Chinese food check out Charlie's Bakery and for more good Indian options in town check out Yak and Yeti and Namaste Shangri-La.

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