By Cat Wurdack
3010 SE Division
Lunch and Dinner
Daily 11 am – 10 pm
When chef Troy MacLarty found his favorite south Indian regional street foods under-represented in Portland, he resolved to change that. He spent a year and a half cooking lots of Indian food and traveled to India. In 2012, he established the popular Bollywood Theater on Alberta St.
A few months ago, MacLarty opened an exponentially larger (4,000 square foot) Bollywood Theater in the D-Street Development on SE Division at 30th Ave. It’s got the same menu and quirky ethnic vibe that succeeds in NE with the added benefit of a retail pantry space that sells Indian chiles, rice, and fresh ghee; a super-sized open kitchen; and an outdoor patio that could easily accommodate a heck of a bhangra party.
With Bollywood SE, MacLarty continues to broaden our experience of the possibilities of PDX Indian cuisine and offers a dining experience that is a little bit fantasy and a whole lot of fun.
MacLarty’s style of Indian cooking, as he describes it, favors lighter, brighter dishes; food that is “cooked in the moment” and hasn’t spent time in a steam table on a buffet line.
Bollywood offers many options for full meals as well as light drinking snacks. Vegetarians, vegans and omnivores will find common ground on the menu.
Vegetable options include asparagus grilled with almonds, raisins and a fresh turmeric curry; vada pav, a spicy potato dumpling (aka “poor man’s burger” of Mumbai) dipped in chickpea batter, fried, and served on a roll with green chutney; and samosa chole, two savory pastries filled with spiced potatoes, ginger and peas, topped with spicy garbanzo bean stew and served with bright green coriander sauce.
Meat eaters are directed to the Goa-style pork vindaloo, braised pork with red chilies, garlic and vinegar; and chicken curry served with saffron rice. These dishes, as well as egg masala and Goa-style shrimp can be ordered a la carte or as thali, a classic full platter that includes: saffron rice, sambar (vegetable and lentil stew), dal, raita (yogurt with cucumber and cilantro), paratha (Indian flatbread with ghee), green chutney, or side dish of dal, a trio of chutneys with papadums, and a single serving of saffron basmati long-grain rice.
Tin plates and mugs put one in the mind of a 1940s Indian Army mess kit. Classic Indian films are projected on a back wall. Beverages include a classic Pimm’s Cup, gin and tonic, and alcohol-free ginger-lime soda, as well as yogurt lassi and hot or cold chai. Prices remain affordable by ordering at the counter and bussing your own table.