The specs: #00902
5957 McKee Rd., Fitchburg 53719
Details at Yelp,
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Beth, Chuck, JM, John, Kami, Kim, Nichole, Stephanie, and Steve ate the lunch buffet.
The bill was $9/person plus beverage and tip.
Chuck and Nichole gave Haveli an A-; JM, John and Kami gave Haveli a B+; Stephanie and Steve gave Haveli a B; Beth and Kim gave Haveli a B-; plus some bonus As for cleanliness and service (see our grading rubric).
Haveli turned out to be a solid choice for an office lunch. Buffets generally have a logistical advantage for this type of outing in speed and ease of settling up the bill, but Haveli also had the advantage of a clean, bright atmosphere and great service. Our group ran the gamut from fans of Indian food to first-timers, and included a gluten-free diner. That everybody surveyed gave an above-average grade speaks louder than most of our alphabetical write-ups, which are inherently small in scope. So we’re glad we got to enjoy this meal with a happy crowd.
On the buffet, there was green salad, which was nice with cucumber sauce as dressing, but otherwise average verging on "nothing to write home (or even on the internet) about." The naan, while warm and plentiful, was also about the middle of the pack and also came in onion flavor. Sadly there were no papadams.
Lunch started to get interesting with soup: a tomato soup had a rich and robust flavor without the apparent aid of dairy products (although shortly before our arrival someone had spllied a serving on the floor; it was gone before our second passes). Some deep fried mushrooms led the pack among a wide variety of vegetable sides. As with most Indian buffets, the food really benefitted from liberal sampling of the various relishes, chutneys and sauces available.
The goat curry was definitely the star of lunch, as reportered. Or, as Steve put it, “No kidding, the goat was really good!” It was like beef stew’s smarter, more nimble cousin - fork-tender meat in delectable sauce, with the occasional bone that was worth navigating around for the boost it gave to the flavor.
The chicken tikka masala was a hit, though a bit runny - but one legend has it CTM owes its very existence to a truck driver’s wish for a lot of gravy on his meat, so no ding there. Plus it tasted good over rice. For the more sauce-averse, the tandoori chicken was a good option.
Speaking of rice, several folks praised the egg rice, one preparation of basmati loaded with diced vegetables and bits of fried egg.
For sweets, there were kheer (which John was a big salesman of), honey-heavy gajar halwa, and mango ice cream that got high marks from everyone who tried it.
Haveli re-set the record at a fifth visit to one address, but they have smartly subdivided the formerly-far-too-roomy-to-make-the-rent Fitch's location and now occupy merely the front area. So while this palace puts on a good show, it is not as palatial as it could have been and is probably more likely to last because of it.