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Weekend Menu: Parking is naan a problem at this tasty new restaurant

Drop the “So where should we go to dinner?” tango. Forget scrolling through Yelp for 40 minutes. Our Weekend Menu series will inspire you to try new, unique, or just damn tasty restaurants around the city. No guesswork, just good food.

Downtown is a ghost town on the weekends, which makes it the perfect destination for a stress-free dinner destination. Make Haveli Bistro your plans for dinner this weekend.

Indian restaurants in this country fascinate me. Certain elements seem oddly consistent: the food is rarely bad, the service is rarely good, and the bars are usually just sort of … there. Most of them ask you for a spice preference, and very few actually deliver on the goods. I’m sure there’s a rulebook somewhere that says, “Americans like their Indian food like old people like their eggs,” which is to say, “mild, mushy, and made mostly of heavy cream.”

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After a glance, Haveli, which recently took over the southwest corner of High and Spring in downtown Columbus, is not of this category. In fact, the most notable thing about the menu is the Indo-Chinese/Szechuan influence.

Of course you will find the obligatory offerings. Tikka masala and saag and korma. But there’s also gongura (a southeastern style popular in Andhra Pradesh), roghan josh (aromatic goat stew of Kashmiri origin), and, as noted, Szechuan chicken, prawns, and—my favorite—mushrooms.

The latter selection was fragrant and well-spiced and paired well with other samplings. They have an herbaceous quality that reminded me (oddly) of oysters Rockefeller and an excellent texture.

View Haveli Bistro eat614.com reviews below

So—decent spice, more-than-typical selection, and even a nice goopy gulab jamun (sort of an Indian tres leches).

Haveli is located at 185 North High Street. It is open 11am- 2pm for lunch and 5:30pm-10pm for dinner Mondays-Thursdays; 11am- 2pm for lunch and 5:30pm-10:30pm Fridays; 11:30am- 2:30pm for lunch and 5:30pm-10:30pm Saturdays; and 11:30am- 2:30pm for lunch and 5:30pm-9:30pm Sundays.

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