The Red Hook Curry House in Red Hook bustles on Sunday night. They offer dinner buffets on Tuesdays and Sundays from 5pm to 10pm. Since I very rarely wait longer than 20 seconds to get a table in the Hudson Valley, I am always impressed when I have to wait five minutes. I knew as soon as I walked in there and saw the packed restaurant with beautiful red booths that I was in for a real Indian buffet feast. Locals, weekenders, couples, and families with teenagers were all dining here.
The buffet ($12.95 for adults) has quite a few vegetarian options, including mulligatawny soup. For the main dishes: fish karma, lamb vindaloo, chicken tandoori, and hot out of the oven nan. Everything is delicious and fresh. The service was very friendly, though lingering is discreetly discouraged as the bill comes promptly as soon as you finish your tea.
Speaking of tea, I was very impressed with the chai. Anybody who has visited India knows about real Indian chai. It is sold just about everywhere you go in India. I had my best chai in a run-down hotel in Mumbai in 1998. It amazes me that even fancy Indian restaurants in New York City serve very lame chai. When I ask for chai, the server comes back with a cup of spiced Lipton Tea. I don't know why the restaurants don't make an effort to make the real thing. I guess they assume most diners don't know real Indian chai.
Newsflash: The Red Hook Curry has the real chai! I couldn't believe it! The chai here is the closest I've come to having chai in India! It is milky, strong, sweet, and refills are free! It was the perfect ending to a delicious Indian buffet. You might not have room for dessert, but the dessert offerings are small anyway.
Find more restaurant reviews and things to do in the Hudson Valley at Vanessa Ahern's blog, HudsonValleyGoodStuff.com.