3010 Division Street
Contact | 503.477.6699
Indian food isn’t far behind Japanese on the top of my list of favorite cuisines, but I find myself indulging far less frequently because of the commitment it requires from your taste buds. The herbs, the spices, the sauces are all so good -– there are few food items I find myself craving as often — but picking a dish at a restaurant often feels like you’ve bound yourself to it for the evening.
That’s where the genius of Bollywood Theater comes in. The festive Bollywood-themed restaurant on Division Street in southeast Portland serves, where dishes are as colorful as its mural-lined walls, serve plates in almost tapas fashion, bringing a hailstorm of diverse flavors.
A group of four can order two or three items from the “street food” section and another couple “small plates,” all on top of a main curry selection and some sides. That makes for a wondrously labyrinthine adventure of a meal.
Most memorable were the beets. Roasted and lathered in coconut milk, this eye-popping magenta dish can convert any beet non-believer. The typical earthy flavor is muted since the beets are roasted down to a sort of al dente state and drenched in a velvety coat of luscious coconut milk.
My other favorite offered a total 180 experience. A heaping mound of thinly julienned okra is served fried with a side of cool raita dipping sauce. I’m not sure which is more addicting, but together, it’s the stuff all chips should be made of.
The roasted chilis come with a load of entertainment, because every one in about five will skewer your tongue, rendering you without taste for a few minutes. Hint: the beets are a perfect remedy here.
Other notables, though not pictured, are the curry shrimp, cooked with a succulent bounce, and a flavor bomb of a Kati roll. There’s also a small marketplace off to the side, selling spices and bags of rice–a good way to kill time for anyone waiting for a table.
There’s really no comp to this in all the eating I’ve done across the U.S. From Bollywood Theater’s airy setting and bustling open kitchen to its food offerings down to its serving ware, for a moment, you just might forget you’re in Portland.