Amid a Warehouse District still geared mostly toward destination dining and drinking, simple lunch stops remain a rarity. Happily, a new option has settled in at the northern end of West Ninth Street that could ease the daily quest for noontime sustenance. Occupying the former Water Street Grill, Charkha Exotic Indian Cuisine opened on May 30 and quickly staked its ground as the neighborhood's lone lunch-buffet option. Though the extensive, reasonably priced menu includes everything from tandoori specialties to seafood, a logical starting point is that buffet — a bargain at $8.95, seven days a week. A true feast for vegetarians, buffet options range from the rich and creamy saag paneer and crisp vegetable pakora, to daal makhani, a zesty blend of black lentils, tomatoes, ginger, and herbs. Flavors were rich and bold, though hints of heat were mostly hard to come by. A trio of chicken dishes on this day will give way to goat and lamb on other days, part of Charkha's plan to keep the buffet options rotating regularly. Fresh and flaky naan, delivered tableside by an impossibly attentive staff, wonderfully rounded out a welcome cubicle escape. — Erich Burnett
At 1265 West Sixth St., 216-574-9999, charkha.us.