Nobody was sadder than I when Bayleaf India Bistro closed. I used to eat at Bayleaf often when I lived in the vicinity of the restaurant, but even after moving away from Westerville, I stopped there often when I was in the area.
Cumin Indian Restaurant opened in its place. It is owned by the same people who own Cuisine of India.
Although Indian restaurants offer vegetarian options, Cumin goes out of its way to feature a variety of meatless appetizers and entrees. The buffet was 60-75% vegetarian.
Prices at Cumin are more expensive than your average Indian eatery, but the atmosphere and preparation are also a cut above the competition. The interior of Cumin is very similar to Bayleaf, although Cumin has a liquor license. The left side of the restaurant is a small bar.
The dal soup had great flavor. The yellow lentils were cooked to a tender consistency, and the broth had sweet undertone that allowed the delicate pepper and onion notes to shine through.
The chana masala was saucy and somewhat light on chickpeas. It was decent but not spectacular.
The vegetable Manchurian was excellent. Cauliflower was fried and coated in a sticky, spicy brown Indochinese sauce. It was the spiciest vegetarian item on the buffet.
The potato and eggplant dish had strong garlic and anise flavor. The potatoes were soft and soaked up the seasoning. The eggplant was a little chewy, most likely from spending too long on the buffet warmers.
The palak paneer was solidly prepared. Along with the chana masala, it was unspectacular.
There are a great deal more exciting options on the dinner menu. Cumin could be appreciated by a person who never eats the same thing twice as well as somebody who needs to order the same thing every time. The menu at Cumin is also different enough from Cuisine of India to give Polaris Indian food fans plenty of variety visiting both restaurants.
The buffet comes with naan. The mint and tamarind chutneys struck me as industrial preparations rather than handcrafted condiments.