Today's three square deals: Indian thali, an encore of cocktails and honoring Julia Child
Lunch: In the blitz of lunch hour Indian buffets, India's Pearl stands out because it doesn't have a lunchtime buffet at all. Instead, the upscale curry house at 1475 South Pearl Street, offers a fantastic lunch thali, an ornate, sliver tray propped with an assortment of individual dishes, all made fresh-to-order. The kitchen changes the menu every day, but the plate always includes blistered naan, basmati rice and numerous starters, entrees and desserts, which you can mix and match. And, no, you can't stuff yourself with second and third helpings, but for $9.95, the current going price, you can eat like a king and pay like a pauper. The lunch thali is offered Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Liquid: Every day except Sunday, which is the day when Encore (2550 East Colfax Avenue) peddles an all-day brunch, you can snap up a seat at the jovial bar, banter with the tenders and choose your half-priced poison from the formidable cocktail, wine, martini and beer list. Yes, that's right: From 3 to 6 p.m., and again from 9 p.m. to close, every single drink on Encore's libations board, with the exception of wines by the bottle, is half off. It might also be a good time to check out exec chef Paul Reilly's fig 'n' pig pizza. Because, you know, everything tastes better with pig.
Dinner: Continuing through August, Le Central, the quirky French restaurant at 112 East Eighth Avenue, is celebrating the life of Julia Child with a nightly four-course dinner inspired by the vivacious American chef who introduced French cooking to us yanks, and who, you may have heard, is the subject of Julie and Julia, a new flick about a girl (Julie) who whines her way through mastering the recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The bargain-priced dinner, inclusive of dishes ripped straight from the recipe files in Child's cookbook, is $24 per person, excluding tax and tip. Call 303-863-8094 for reservations.