Dec 2010

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine – Pasadena

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

When the Indian kids studying at Caltech are hungry for a taste of home, they head to Mezbaan Indian Cuisine in Old Pasadena. It’s hardly the closest Indian restaurant to campus, but the quality makes up for the longer trek, according to our friend Raga, a computer science grad student from Madras.

Raga introduced The Astronomer and me to his favorite spot a few Sundays ago. We came for the  all-you-can-eat buffet, which is priced at $10.95 and includes champagne. The fun starts at noon and runs until 3 PM. Mezbaan also has a weekday buffet for $8.99 from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. For grad students living on a stipend, these buffets offer a lot of bang for very little buck. Ordering a la carte will come once PhDs are in hand. Or maybe not…

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

While we were filling up our plates at the steam tables, our really nice and attentive waiter dropped off a basket of warm and pliable naan. This was the first of two baskets we plowed through during our meal.

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

On our visit, Mezbaan offered three different condiments—mint chutney, tamarind chutney, and raita, a cooling yogurt sauce. Raga had a soft spot for the minty one, while I favored the sticky sweet tamarind one.

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

The number of dishes available at the buffet was perfectly adequate, though not extensive by any means. There were five different curries/stews: three vegetarian ones and two that contained meat. The Astronomer and I dabbled in a little bit of everything, while our vegetarian companion stuck to the meatless offerings.

My first plate contained a wedge of roasted sweet potato, a vegetable samosa, tandoori chicken, spinach (saag), goat curry, and basmati rice with peas (pea pilau). There was not a single loser on the plate. Every dish was fragrant with spices and tasted very fresh. I was particularly fond of the goat curry’s tender meat and complex gravy.

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

My second plate contained more of the goat curry and saag, along with some eggplant curry and vegetable korma. Even though I was filling up fast, everything still tasted tops. Though I tried my best not to overeat, it was nearly impossible since the food was so good and more was just a few steps away… Oh, buffets!

The only stone I left unturned on the steam tables was the pinto bean curry, which sounded uninteresting to me. However, Raga ate it and said it was great.

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

For dessert, we all enjoyed bowls of chilled rice pudding. The milky mush with cinnamon accents soothed our maxed-out stomachs.

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

And just for kicks, we ordered a second dessert off the menu because I had a serious craving for gulab jamun ($6). Made of flour and milk solids, the deep-fried balls were served warm in a sweet syrup flavored with cardamom and rosewater. It was a most delightful conclusion to our all-you-can-eat brunch.

When executed with care, Indian buffets can be a real treat.

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine
80 North Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103-3610
Phone: 626-405-9060

Previous Post
Next Post

15 thoughts on “Mezbaan Indian Cuisine – Pasadena

  1. When I saw your first plate, I thought that was all you had! Then I saw the second plate…

    … and I thought, “That’s my girl!”

  2. I’m glad you (and The Astronomer) enjoyed this lunch! There are some other Indian restaurants on Fair Oaks and on Colorado in the Old Town area (Akbar, All India, Sitar) and the closest one to Caltech is New Delhi Palace. We Indians at Caltech generally agree that Mezbaan is the best among these five. Go Mezbaan!

  3. As much as I love the place I take the stand that there are much better Authentic Indian Restaurants which remind us of home than this.

  4. For some reason I just can’t get into Indian food. I keep trying, but to no avail. It looks so good though! Seeing this really makes me want to enjoy it. Le sigh. Try, try again.

  5. I’ve had dinners at other Indian restaurants in Pasadena that were better than any I’ve had at Mezbaan, but Mezbaan is the only one at which I have never had a bad meal.

  6. I work a couple blocks away from this place. It’s the best Indian buffet this side of town. I always stuff myself. I got to Mez and the Tibetan buffet quite frequently. The naan is the second best next to Taurat Tandori in Koreatown.

  7. For those who do not know the meaning, Mezbaan means Host in Urdu/Hindi.

    I have been a frequent visitor of this restaurant for several years.
    I have found that the food is still OK there however their hospitality and service has hit the rock bottom. It has happened twice in a row so it should not be an anomaly.

    I had some very distinguished guests with me yesterday. I had a booking too. But it took at least 3 requests and 20 minutes wait just to get water. Getting Naans and Drinks delivered took good 30 minutes. We were told to get out at 2.15 pm because they were closing. As the host I can’t even begin to describe my level of embarrassment. But the fact they refused to validate the parking ticket on account of “running out of validations” was the last straw for me. I am never going back there.

    Thanks but no thanks to Mezbaan. Their service quality sucks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *