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[Rachel Meyer/The Daily Pennsylvanian]

Is there anyone who doesn't love a good saag paneer?

I think not.

But a good saag paneer can be devastatingly hard to come by.

My guest and I have long been on a quest for the best Indian food west of Bombay -- from Danny Meyer's nouveau-Indian Tabla in lower Manhattan to New Delhi on the corner of 40th and Chestnut, we have tried them all.

So, when we finally arrived at the unassuming entry for 38th Street's Sitar India after forgetting the address and wandering around in icy rain for 15 minutes, we were cold, very hungry, jaded Indian food eaters.

Sitar India 60 S. 38th Street (215) 662-0818 Fare: Indian Under $7 Seven-day-a-week buffet with various dishes from North and South India.

We started off sipping mango lassis while Indian music played quietly in the background.

"This is one of the best of these I've ever had," my guest said, commenting on the drink's lack of grittiness and the fact that it was not "cloyingly sweet."

Next up was an array of vegetarian appetizers -- samosas, papadum and assorted pakoras. By the time we finished the large plate we were nervous that we would not have room for our main courses.

We continued with we alu palak, gobhi masala, chicken tikka masa and (of course) saag paneer. Each of the dishes was extremely good, particularly the gobhi masala, and, according to my guest, the chicken tikka masa. The food was well spiced, and the chicken was "very succulent" and well-equipped with mainly white meat pieces.

Still, the hit of our meal was the garlic naan and the cucumber and yogurt raita dish. The fluffy naan was covered in garlic and tasted incredible dipped in the yogurt. By the time the bread arrived we were stuffed to the gills, but the entire circle of naan disappeared in seconds.

We considered dessert, but could not imagine putting another bite into our mouths.

Sitar India is a great place to go for deliciously inexpensive Indian, particularly if you're interested in escaping the Penn undergraduate scene without having to walk more than three blocks.

As we walked out we popped a few of the licorice seeds -- famously served at all Indian restaurants as preventatives for indigestion -- into our mouths. Reconvening later that night, we both agreed they were unnecessary. Unlike the traditional post-Indian food routine -- not wanting to smell anything vaguely curried for at least a month -- we were ready for more.

And, most importantly, the saag paneer was delicious.

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