Dining

Indian done right

Curry Bowl deserves its neighbors’ support

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Chicken tikka.
Photo: Beverly Poppe
Brock Radke

It’s a fine place to live, but the sprawling Las Vegas suburb of Centennial Hills (think north of Cheyenne Avenue, west of the 95) is a little behind some of our other officially named neighborhoods when it comes to dining diversity. Corporate chains, bland bar grub and fast food have long ruled this roost. The largest collection of restaurants out here is at Centennial Center, and, until recently, the Most Delicious Morsel to be found in this struggling shopping plaza was a big bite of In-N-Out’s double-double. (Not that it’s anything to be ashamed of.)

But now that title belongs to the lamb samosa at Indian Curry Bowl: lean ground meat, made savory with freshly roasted spices, tucked inside warm, crisp pastry. What could be more sublime than a mini-meat pie? They’re also available stuffed with veggies, chicken or beef, but lamb feels more exotic and satisfying.

Cooking up curry in the Indian Curry Bowl kitchen.

Coming in a close second is the fresh naan bread, pillowy and perfect, particularly the potato-stuffed aloo kulcha naan. The chef is grilling up this traditional bread one piece at a time, just for you. These two appetizers alone raise the level of dining in northwest Vegas to new heights.

The Details

Restaurant Guide
Indian Curry Bowl
Three and a half stars
5643 Centennial Center Blvd. Suite 130, 233-2695.
Daily, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4-9 p.m. Suggested dishes: lamb samosa, $4.50; a loo kulcha naan, $3; chicken vindaloo, $13.95; paneer masala tikka, $12.95.

The quality and authenticity at Indian Curry Bowl are no surprise once we discover the owners are the same family behind Samosa Factory on West Sahara, which they sold last year. It built a rep as the quintessential neighborhood ethnic restaurant, the kind Vegas doesn’t have enough of, and now the lucky folks of Centennial Hills have their very own. The menu seems simplified, with plenty of curries, chicken tandoori dishes and bountiful vegetarian/vegan options. Most come with an adequate portion of fragrant basmati rice. Vindaloo, which can be ordered with chicken or lamb, is one of the spicier dishes, made extra hearty with tender potatoes. Indian curries run milder than their Thai brethren, but the kitchen is happy to burn you up. Hot and sour curried chicken isn’t spicy but contains bright flavor combinations of tamarind, tomatoes, sesame and the often-used fenugreek.

Chicken korma.

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If you’re feeling full after all that naan and you want to go veggie, go with the paneer masala tikka, grilled chunks of the nonmelting farmer cheese in a thick stew of onions, garlic and ginger. Sounds simple, tastes amazing. And despite a belly full of warm, soulful food, you get to remind yourself you ate healthy.

Serving lunch specials, weekend breakfasts and anything for takeout, Indian Curry Bowl should be a big hit. But the comfy little earth-toned dining room has been empty on our visits. This end of the shopping center, just west of the 95 at Ann Road, should be booming, with a new mega-gym and a Fresh & Easy market set to open soon. But there are a lot of empty spaces between Indian Curry Bowl and its neighbors, and that’s a shame. Great Indian food is a nice fit in any neighborhood, and in this brutal restaurant economy, we’d be wise not to let this one slip away.

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