First look: Bengal

Green pea and paneer cheese curry served as part of a daily vegetable thali of five veggie dishes with basmati rice at Bengal Modern Indian Cuisine on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. Photo: Linda Bladholm.

The goods: Indian restaurants are few and far between in our tropical metropolis, so the opening of Bengal on Biscayne Blvd is an exciting development for Miami curry junkies. The Bangladeshi owners have experience in the restaurant business, having worked in Michael Schwartz’s kitchen when he was at Nemo. The two-story restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows facing the busy boulevard, tables clad in white linens, wine-colored banquettes and flatscreen TVs that play Bollywood musicals.

The grub: Regional Indian cuisine with specialties from all over the map. Prices are a bit higher than your usual tandoori dive; starters are $5-$9, mains range $12-22 and extras like naan and chutney go for $2.50-$4. All meat is certified halal. For starters try the lamb kebob and vegetable samosas, lightly spiced and brimming with potatoes and peas. Vegetarians have choices like the begun bharta, eggplant sautéed with tomatoes and onions or the matar paneer made of cubes of homemade cheese in a lightly spiced sauce of green peas. The tandoori dishes are cooked in a clay oven and include lamb, fish, chicken and beef. House dishes include the Carai shrimp cooked in a creamy tomato sauce and the dhaka goat cooked in a curry sauce and served with fluffy rice.
Desserts like the homemade mango ice cream are a sweet cap to the flavorful fare.

The verdict: Ambitious Indian food hits the mainland to the delight of tandoori fiends citywide.

Bengal Restaurant, 2010 Biscayne Blvd; 305-403-1976

Published: 9/08

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