Thursday, April 9, 2009


Dusmesh Indian Restaurant
944 Ludlow Avenue
Tel: 513-221-8900

Dusmesh is located in a converted house (the old Indian Palace restaurant) across the street from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and the menu offers a wide selection of North Indian haute cuisine made from the finest and freshest ingredients. The sweet, comforting aroma of Nag Champa greets visitors at the front door; a first indication of good things to come. Diners are greeted promptly by friendly staff, and even first-timers are welcomed as old friends. It's very refreshing.

This unassuming building houses a fantastic Indian restaurant!

The entrance is via this pint-sized addition on the right side of the house

As with most local Indian buffets, there are several vegetarian dishes alongside meat-based dishes. The difference with Dusmesh is in what they offer - on the day we visited the vegetarian offerings included aloo gijjar (a gorgeously tasty potato-carrot dish laced with coriander and onion), and egg bhurji (scrambled egg masala). I haven't seen these at other local buffets, but more importantly both had a complexity of flavor not found elsewhere around town.

The choices on the buffet bar are impressive
The cheery lunchroom

Another difference between Dusmesh and other local Indian restaurants is their light-handed use of chillies, letting the other ingredients shine. That isn't to say that none of Dusmesh's offering are fiery, but most dishes are gentle and pleasing. Steve and I were both astonished by the depth of flavor in the navratan korma (meaning "nine jewels," it's nine vegetables in a lightly spiced cream sauce). The interplay between the coriander, turmeric and garam masala with the cream and vegetables was a symphony for the tongue. I've had mixed veg korma plenty of times, but here this dish is taken to a completely different level. By far is the best I've ever tasted.

Navratan Korma, rice and Aloo Gijjar (in bowl)
Another helping of navratan korma and rice, this time with egg bhurji and hot pickle (in side dish)

I tried every vegetarian offering on the buffet bar (although not all of them photographed well enough to be shown), and my only quibble is that the temperature of two of the dishes was tepid at best, possibly due to faulty warmers on the bar. Considering just how phenomenally good the food is at Dusmesh, this is an issue they should sort out sharpish.

A plate of appetizers clockwise from top: tomato soup, veg samosa, veg pakora and turnip masala

The lunch buffet is daily from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and runs $8. Dinner service runs until 10 p.m. and vegetarian fare is well represented; the restaurant offers 24 dedicated vegetarian dinner entrées, as well as a number of veg appetizers, soups and tandooris.

The desserts at Dusmesh should not be overlooked. Alongside buffet staples like kheer (rice pudding) and fresh fruit, on the day we visited there was also a lovely grated carrot pudding. This delicately sweet dessert meshes carrot with cardamon, sugar, milk and ghee (clarified butter) for a taste similar to baked sweet potatoes slathered in butter and brown sugar. Oh my, I could have eaten the entire tray.

Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot pudding) is a satisfying end to a fantastic buffet meal

Dusmesh Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Sara Leah said...

We went there last night for dinner. It was wonderful. Not only was the service excellent, the vegetarian selection on the menu was pretty incredible. Can't wait to go back.

Dionisio said...

You had me at the Navratan Korma! It's my favorite dish as a vegetarian and you have sealed it, we. are. going!

We had gone here when it was India Palace and they projected awesome Indian music videos on the wall. Is that still in place? It was one of my favorite parts about the place.

And lastly, Halwa is the most sinful dessert ever. New Krishna in Sharonville has huge trays of it (though made differently than at Dusmesh it looks like) on the weekends and I always stuff myself on it.

Veggie Option said...

Hi Sarah Leah and Dionisio, and thanks for reading!

@Dionisio - the projected videos are gone but they still play pretty groovy Indian music. Thanks for letting me know about the dessert at New Krishna. I will have to give it a try.

Katy said...

Shawn (Dionisio) & I are going tonight with one of his friends from work. Your review made me drool.

Veggie Option said...

Katy - I've not been for dinner yet so let me know what you think.

liz said...

i need to go here like yesterday. damn this sounds good.

liberal foodie said...

And as a meat lovin' Indian, I can say they've got the best meat options as well. Some days they offer goat curry, a very hard find around here and it's really good.

Dionisio said...

We made it Friday night and were a bit saddened to realize they only have the buffet during lunch. Our food was delicious (Nav Ratan Korma and Paneer Masala) but the portions were a liiiiiiittle tinier than other places we've been.

Very very tasty though and highly recommended!

Kishore said...

Thanks for such a detailed review. I have been to Dusmesh a couple of times now in the last month and I have to agree with you 100%. Having been a vegetarian all my life and an Indian who is a pretty darn good cook, I was feeling a little jaded with all the other Indian restaurants in town. They all have begun to taste alike for the most part. India Palace (the previous restaurant at the same location) was definitely one of the worst and I wasn't too keen on going to another Indian restaurat at the same location. But, Dusmesh has definitely kicked it up a notch. My wife and I were both pleasantly surprised to find the food there so very flavorful. And its got vegetarian entrees that you won't find anywhere else. I think its my new favorite Indian restaurant in Cincinnati. :-)

Thanks for all the other great reviews. You do an awesome job! You took the words out of my mouth with the review for Trattoria Roma. I want to like the restaurant because it reminds me of this awesome Italian place in Chicago, but each time I have gone there for lunch during a weekday, I have been disappointed.

Veggie Option said...

Kishore, Dusmesh is definitely my and my husband's favorite Indian restaurant in town too. They are getting it right on so many levels, and it is nice to know a good Indian cook agrees. :) Thanks for reading!

Steve: Husband of Veggie Option said...

Yes, after 11 years of living in the USA, Dusmesh is by FAR the best Indian restaurant I have been to pretty much anywhere in the country.

Looks like both curry-lovin' vegetarians and carnivores can rejoice?!