India Express . Denver
For a busy noisy traffic corridor the stretch on Colorado Boulevard between 7th and 11th Avenues is a surprisingly nice place to dine, with a selection of independent restaurants and locally based chains. Zooming by northbound you’d probably miss most of them as they’re housed in smaller non-flashy, non-red neon striped buildings, (except for the giant Chipotle treehouse looking structure,) and they’re all located on the west side of the street.
Erawan Cafe is on my rotation when Thai food calls. And local sandwich shop Spicy Pickle has a location next door. There’s a Chipotle – (I had to look that up because I get my Q’doba and Chipolte’s mixed up,) and a Tokyo Joe’s too. Coming in last (for me,) is Heidi’s Deli, a franchise attempting to recreate a New York style deli but has failed to impress me. Spicy Pickle is far superior. There’s also a place called Swing Thai, which I’ve never visited due to Erawan hidden right around the corner. For coffee and morning grub you can find an Einstein’s and of course a Starbucks taking its prominent position lording over the 8th and Colorado corner.
India Express sits next to Chipotle. They’re located in a small tidy looking brick strip mall. I really like India Express, but the space they’re in seems almost too large for their customers and operation.
The high open ceilings and ample space give it the appearance of a high school gym or church basement set up for an “Indian Restaurant Charity Night.” The place just seems disproportionately large, but my criticisms are only cosmetic. The staff is friendly, quick to attend, and I enjoy the food enough I consider myself a regular on the take-out roster.
I usually visit in the evenings, but I’ve been worried for their future as there never seems to be more than two or three other sets of patrons. I’m guessing the coffers were heftier before the University of Colorado Hospital moved out (at 9th and Colorado,) however there are big plans for that complex and a new small hotel springing up at 8th and Colorado. I often see folks popping in picking up take-out, and I miss what goes on at lunch as I work in the tech center. Hopefully there’s a lot of business coming in that I don’t witness.
I’m usually down with the lamb curry or lamb korma. (I love cooking lamb when making homemade Shepard’s Pie and definitely with Indian food.) For me any dish is always accompanied with garlic naan bread. I really love the naan – and they have onion/spiced naan and kabuli naan too – with mixed nuts and raisins.
They offer a lunch buffer every day for $6.95. The buffet has resulted in mixed reviews, but I’m planning to try it out some Saturday. Dinner prices are $10-15. When I take-out I always split it and take it for lunch the next day. With the naan bread even half is a huge meal.
They’re at 727 Colorado Boulevard – closed Sundays. Online at indiaexpress.com
The website template they use, much like the interior space of the building, appears utilitarian and bland – and undeserving of the good service and spicy food they cook up.
If you want to examine how a restaurant faces a really odd strip mall pop into Red Tango, which faced the opposite challenge India Express has.
by James Van Dellen