The weathered façade of Charles Restaurant advertises in faded white letters pizza, subs, platters, and seafood, like any other hot-plate junk food carry-out joint in the city. Inside, the menu board doesn't look much more promising--pizza, subs, assorted American homestyle plates, including things like liver and onions and other items usually bathed in powdered brown gravy and served in Styrofoam. But, if you're offered a paper menu, take it. The flipside of this plain-to-the-point-of-institutional space is a massive Indian food menu. We sampled first a veggie samosa, up to standard though a little bland, but cheap at $1.75. For a main course, which we were only able to eat half of post-samosa, we had malai kofta (steep at $10.99, but obviously prepared on the spot), a dish of creamy, tomato-y sauce flavored mainly with the Indian mixed spice known as garam masala, littered with koftas, soft balls made up of paneer, raisins, potatoes, and other veggies. Very good. Though we've heard mixed reviews of Charles Restaurant--mainly involving botched orders--our dish was as tasty as anything we'd find down in Mount Vernon. We suggest a mango lassi ($2.99-3.50), a sweet iced yogurt-y drink, for dessert, if you have room.