Columbus' newest Indian restaurant is Bayleaf India Bistro on Polaris. The menu features piles of vegetarian selections from a cuisine type noted for vegetarian options, and when the dining room is fully realized, the 132-seat facility should be packed with crowds sampling the tasty, carefully-prepared offerings.
Although the menu isn't 100 percent vegetarian, there are more vegetarian possibilities than some other strictly vegetarian outposts. The staff told me that there would be paintings in soon, and the dining room showed no evidence of its previous occupant, Ted's Montana Grill, the TNT carnivore pit. There was no liquor license when I went, although that will probably also change soon.
There is more information on the chefs and the owners in the article from ThisWeek. My meal started out with the complimentary highly-seasoned pappadams with mint chutney, a sweet red sauce and a soy dip on a silver tower. There were also great breads, including garlic naan, onion kulcha and whole wheat potato, pea and herb aloo paratha.
The first course (pictured above) was paneer shaslik "Raiwalla," an item that shares its name with an Indian town on the Ganges River. The appetizer is made of paneer, a mild whey cheese, layered with green pepper, tomato and onion with a citrus, yogurt and mustard tandoori masala sauce. This was one of many vegetarian appetizers, and I chose it because it was listed as the chef's specialty.
Other options for vegetarian appetizers include cashew rolls, stuffed hot peppers, chilli paneer and the Indian standby samosas. Many of the soups can also be prepared vegetarian, including the corn chowder.
Many of the entrees are made in the tandoori oven. One of the earthen pot dishes, made for people looking to watch their calories and cholesterol content, is a paneer dish made with mint in a cilantro curry with pepper and sour cream.
There are 10 vegetarian-only items as well as many vegetarian-optional selections available as main courses. I tried the vegetable dumplings in hot garlic sauce. The vegetables were shredded and breaded like veggie "meat balls," and the rich, spicy sauce is poured all over the dumplings, which are served atop Basmati rice.
There are also desserts, and most of the menu is available for take out. I'm sure I will eat at Bayleaf all the time once they get the liquor license. Check out the pictures below.